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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

FLORIDA: Musical Advice


Miami Herald (10.13.05) - Friday, October 14, 2005

Louis and Rosalia Curbelo of Fort Lauderdale, who married in 2004, decided to start a band last year. Louis was diagnosed with HIV in 1987, and the couple wanted to make music with a message. Their duo, Los Doctores ("The Doctors") sings about AIDS prevention in salsa, Spanish hip-hop, and plena beats. Louis and Rosalia have copyrighted 40 songs in English, Spanish or both. Their songs have lyrics like, "Condom no muerde, pero el SIDA si." ("A condom doesn't bite, but AIDS does.") The couple uses their music to help overcome barriers to HIV testing and treatment within the Hispanic community. Among those barriers are a belief that marriage is protective; the macho idea that it is the woman's job to worry about safe sex; the notion that HIV/AIDS affects only homosexuals; and limited knowledge of how it is spread, according to Manuel Rodriguez, program manager for HIV/AIDS Health Education at the Broward County Health Department.

Maria Moreno, outreach coordinator for Center One, a Fort Lauderdale-based AIDS nonprofit, said undocumented Hispanics mistakenly believe their names will be turned over to the authorities should they get tested. Moreno gave Los Doctores their first gig, booking them for her weekly Hispanic support group, and she offers practice space. Louis and Rosalia hope to expand their local performances to nursing homes, schools, and other venues. Of Puerto Rican descent, they hope one day to play in New York's Puerto Rican Day parade and in Puerto Rico.

Rosalia, who is uninfected, is tested annually for the virus. The couple's determination that she remain so is "why we keep protecting ourselves," Rosalia said.


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