Hoping to raise awareness and decrease stigma among Latinos, a Los Angeles health clinic launched a multi-part telenovela Friday about HIV and AIDS.
The serialized drama, "Sin Verguenza" (Without Shame), follows one fictional family, the Salazars, who live in East Los Angeles. The story lines are based on experiences by patients at the clinic, AltaMed, and cover such topics as infidelity, stigma and family secrets.
The four-episode show -- in both English and Spanish -- is part of a public health campaign to promote HIV prevention, encourage patients to get tested and urge patients with HIV to seek medical care, clinic staff said.
Traditional ways of educating patients weren't enough, said Natalie Sanchez, AltaMed’s HIV prevention manager. So she and others decided to create the telenovela, which they hope will eliminate some of the myths that are still present among Latinos. “With these stories, we hope the messages will resonate,” she said.
The clinic used a federal grant to produce the show, which is airing on YouTube and which clinic officials hope will get picked up by a local television station.
The telenovela was announced at an event at one of the clinic’s sites to mark World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) said the telenovela was a unique way of educating the public. “The traditional way of getting the message out is not going to work,” he said. “A lot of people are just not informed.”