AltaMed Health Services has released the third season of "Sin Vergüenza," ("Without Shame") an originally produced, serialized telenovela that tackles the stigma and shame of HIV, and aims to increase awareness on the importance of HIV testing and treatment.
Viewers can continue to follow the story of the Salazars, a fictional Mexican-American family living in Los Angeles affected by HIV. The third season returns to address themes that include: overcoming stigma, seeking STD testing and treatment behavioral health services, alcoholism, homophobia, transphobia and violence.
Earlier seasons encouraged viewers to seek HIV testing, promoted HIV medical care, treatment and the use of prevention methods including PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). Telenovelas are a cultural touchstone in the Latino community and 'Sin Vergüenza' uses that unique storytelling method to educate the community about an important public health issue.
"'Sin Verguenza' has become a prominent HIV educational tool among community health organizations across the country aimed at reducing HIV health disparities in the Latino community," said Natalie Sanchez, Clinic Administrator of HIV Services at AltaMed Health Services and creator of 'Sin Verguenza.' "While viewers may be drawn into the drama of the series, our ultimate goal is to show the journey of persons living with HIV commonly experience."
Despite advances in HIV testing and treatment, communities of color continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV in Southern California. According to the County of Los Angeles' Department of Health, at the end of 2015, more than 61,000 persons were estimated to be living with HIV in Los Angeles County, of which approximately 8,943 were unaware of their HIV infection. Among the 50,771 persons diagnosed and living with HIV in Los Angeles County, at the end of 2015, the majority were male (89%), Latino (42%) or White (32%), and over 40 years of age (74%). Nationwide, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates nearly 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection and 1 in 8 is unaware of their infection.
For nearly 30 years, AltaMed has been one of the largest HIV/AIDS care providers in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, serving Latino, multi-ethnic and underserved communities. AltaMed's services include HIV testing , HIV specialty care, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and other prevention services, along with support services for those living with HIV, including behavioral health and case management.