Can a Telenovela Change Attitudes About HIV/AIDS? AltaMed Says Yes!

Los Angeles, CA–  On World AIDS Day, Nov. 30th, AltaMed Health Services Launches an Original Four Episode Telenovela Series Shot in English and Spanish Raising Awareness for HIV/AIDS Prevention.

AltaMed Health Services will air an original four episode web series telenovela, Sin Vergüenza (Without Shame) in English & Spanish, as part of an awareness campaign that will launch on World AIDS Day. The four-part telenovela mini-series features Latino actors in diverse roles portraying a family affected with HIV.

“This series addresses a taboo subject that will have a powerful impact on our audience,” says Paco Farias, director of Sin Vergüenza. “But what’s more, the actors aren’t playing stereotypical Latino roles. Our cast is paving the way for honest discussion on HIV testing, detection and prevention among a culture that often denies the illness exists in their community.”

“Shooting the episodes first in English then again in Spanish was a testament to the talent and commitment of our actors. I don’t think many people realize how hard it is to switch from one language to another and still maintain a high quality of performance,” adds Farias.

The telenovela premieres during an event on Friday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at AltaMed’s HIV clinic on 5427 Whittier Blvd. in Commerce, where a theater group will conduct a live performance to bring HIV/AIDS prevention awareness to the community. Senator Ed Hernandez, an optometrist, who advocates for the health care needs of the underserved, will be present showing support for the campaign.

“For too long, Latinos have been typecast as gardeners, maids and nannies,” says AltaMed’s President and CEO Cástulo de la Rocha. “We’re thrilled to help spotlight the deep pool of talent in the Latino community while reaching out to continue the important conversations about universal HIV testing.”

The talented cast is comprised of Eliana Alexander and Daniel E. Mora as the heads of the Salazar family, with the rest of the Salazar family played by JM Longoria III; Maria Richwine and Joanna Zanella.  Also co-starring are Dyana Ortelli,  JorgeDiaz, Erick Carrillo, Jose de Vega, and Mauricio Mendoza.

The mini-series features character stories to highlight the impact HIV has on Los Angeles Latino families. The telenovela addresses stigma, shame, infidelity, and family secrets as contributors to risk and the ongoing spread of HIV. The series encourages people to seek HIV testing. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 23,695 Latino men and 3,033 Latino women were reported to be infected with HIV during 2011.
The Nov. 30th event will offer free HIV testing, a screening of the first episode of the mini-series, along with live music, food and a performance by local theater company Casa 0101.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection and 1 in 5 is unaware of their infection. The telenovela Sin Vergüenza is tied to AltaMed’s Universal HIV Testing Initiative which promotes routine HIV screening among all adults, adolescents, and pregnant women ages 13 years of age and older.

Release dates for the four part telenovela, Sin Vergüenza are Nov. 30, Dec. 17, Jan. 7 & Jan. 22. You can view all four episodes on AltaMed’s YouTube channel: AltaMed participates in World AIDS Day each year to support the fight against HIV and to remember those who have lost their lives to the disease. To learn more about AltaMed, visit

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Elia Esparza is a leading expert in communications and journalism targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market and has produced and written dozens of articles. President and CEO of Always Evolving PR and a Communications Specialist, Elia, incorporates her 18 years experience in the areas of entertainment and education public relations, and marketing. promotions, market research and translations (Eng/Span).

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