Latinas take control of their well-being through self-care and key preventive health services

The contributions of women to their families, communities and industries are invaluable. When serving as leaders, as sources of strength and support for others in our communities, Latinas often overlook themselves—sometimes to the detriment of their own mental, emotional, and physical health. As a growing and influential constituency in the United States, Latinas must promote and prioritize their emotional, social, and physical well-being in order to better lead and serve others.

UnidosUS is engaged in a partnership with the Care Women Deserve campaign. Care Women Deserve is a coalition of organizations dedicated to educating people about women’s preventive services available at no out-of-pocket costs, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Because of the ACA, more Latinas have access to health insurance and care. Gains in increased access to care means more Latinas can seek preventive services, including reproductive and family planning services like well-woman visits, pap smears, mammograms, and contraception.

Yet, there are still large gaps in health equity among Latinas. For example, Latinas are disproportionately affected by cervical cancer—having the highest rate among racial groups—even though it is largely preventable and treatable if detected early. That is why the Care Women Deserve positive messaging public education awareness campaign that launched in January of 2018, with a focus on the well-woman visit, is so important for all women, including Latinas.

Despite some recent changes to the Affordable Care Act, it is still the law of the land and women are able to access nine core recommended preventive services that are generally available at no cost, if they are insured.

These services include:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Contraception, counseling and follow-up care
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) counseling
  • Cervical cancer screening
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening
  • Breast cancer screening
  • Interpersonal and domestic violence screening
  • Gestational diabetes screening
  • Breastfeeding services and supplies

While the campaign targets all women, there is a focus to reach out to women of reproductive age, within their 20s-40s. Women of reproductive age frequently need and use all nine of the complementary preventive services. They are also often the influencers of heath for both the generation in front of them (their parents), and behind them (their children.)

We encourage Latinas to remember that your provider is your partner in health. Think about what you should be talking to your physician about. It’s common for women to think about their behavior and how it affects their health. Fewer women discuss with their health care providers how their environments, workplaces, and relationships affect their health.

It’s never too early or too late to schedule your well-woman visit. Schedule your well-woman visit, put it on the calendar, and encourage your friends and family to schedule their free visit.

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