By Ricky Garza, Communications Department, NCLR
Do you know anyone who is HIV-positive?
It’s a hard issue to talk about, but one that our Los Angeles–based Affiliate AltaMed Health Services Corporation has committed to tackling head-on. AltaMed is the largest independent federally qualified community health center in the U.S., serving 930,000 people annually in the Southern California area through 43 locations.
In honor of World AIDS Day, AltaMed produced a short web telenovela-style series called Sin Vergüenza (Without Shame) about an East Los Angeles Mexican American family dealing with HIV/AIDS.
With a seven-minute format and compelling storylines set up from the start, the series features many characters familiar to Hispanics who are at risk of contracting HIV. A cheating spouse, a gay son in law school, and a younger daughter with a long-term boyfriend all seek to break stereotypes and dispel myths about who is and isn’t at risk of getting the disease.
According to AltaMed, Latinos account for one in five of all new HIV infections, and 1.2 million Americans are living with the virus as well. Surprisingly, 20% of HIV-positive people don’t know they are infected. For those engaging in high-risk behaviors such as needle-sharing and unprotected sex, AltaMed recommends getting tested for the virus as soon as possible.
Whether gay or straight, male or female, young or old, no one practicing risky behavior is immune to catching the disease. Using condoms during sexual activity, even if you are already HIV-positive, is essential to stopping the spread of disease and giving HIV to others.
World AIDS Day, first observed in 1988, was conceived to raise awareness about the global AIDS pandemic by the United Nation’s World Health Organization. Today it is observed in all UN member countries worldwide.
With this in mind, check out the first episode of Sin Vergüenza, which introduces the Salazar family and sets the stage for what’s to come in the multipart series. See for yourself!