You're the only one for me!” a young tow truck driver named Hector exclaims passionately as he inconspicuously pushes away a condom handed to him by his girlfriend, Christina. She gazes into his eyes … then turns away, hesitant about the risk of unsafe sex.
Cue intense musical interlude and dramatic fade to black, and you have a scene from a soap opera called “Sin Vergüenza” (“Without Shame”). The Web-based “novela” encourages routine testing for HIV. It is broadcast in both Spanish and English.
The first episode of the first season went live in 2012. The creator, AltaMed Health Services, a not-for-profit chain of federally qualified health centers in Southern California, released the second season in mid-March.
While Christina ponders her lusty lover's plea for passion, her mom, Esther—a business owner and faithful wife—begins having peculiar health symptoms. Her ultimate diagnosis unveils a Salazar family secret that could have long-term health consequences.
AltaMed isn't the only group taking cues from Latin media. As providers aim to address behaviors that lead to poor health outcomes, many are being called to acción! The National Hispanic Medical Association has encouraged such educational tools for the Hispanic population and has supported similar initiatives for breast cancer and diabetes.
In 2012, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and Spanish language television network Univision partnered to air a series of 12 half-hour novelas about health insurance and managing chronic conditions. And last fall, Northwestern Medicine and the National Kidney Foundation touted bilingual website “Infórmate,” which includes educational soap operas about kidney donation.