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Los Doctores

Louis: She took a chance with me. It’s funny, I’m positive, but I didn’t wanna ask a woman that was negative if they would like to go out with me, because of the rejection that I might get. But then I noticed, I was feeling alone. And when I saw her for the first time, I said you know what? I’m gonna take a chance, I’m gonna ask her.

Rosalia: And I said no. I said, no, but then later on… okay, you can continue…

Louis: …but later on I decided, yeah well, I’m not gonna let that NO stop me, and I waited a week, I think, and I asked again, and she said yes. And we had a coffee, and we spoke, and we took things slow. And it was very nice, because I finally had somebody to talk to. I have family, but it’s different. There’s some things that you want a partner to talk to. So we known each other for about 6 years and then that’s when we decided to get married.

Rosalia: I proposed. He was like kind of smiling, and I think I convinced him.

Louis: My daughter was born in 1987. She was born with some complications, and the doctor needed to do some blood work on the parents. And that was the same day I found out I was positive. My wife at that time, she was negative, and my baby came out negative, also.

When I told my wife she told me everything in the book. She actually tried to see if it could work, and she got help, and counseling, but our connection as husband and wife …touching her, and trying to get passionate, it scared her, and I could understand. We left on good terms.

Rosalia: I have a lot of respect for her. I cannot even imagine. At that time, 1987, it was like AIDS equals death. For a married woman, recently with a child, and then discovering this? When I met Louis, you started getting more information, it’s different than in the nineties. I didn’t see him as a person with HIV, I see him first as a man, and then okay, I know he have a condition, but I know there’s a way to protect yourself also.

Louis: Then in 2004, I woke up very depressed, very depressed. I had my wife, which was good, but I was still missing something. I was looking at my life and I was wondering if this is gonna be it? There was a lot of things that I couldn’t do like I used to do. I wasn’t working, because I get fatigued. At that moment I took one of the congas and I started playing. And after a while I noticed that I wasn’t feeling the same. Afterwards I realized it was a conga that was from a very good friend of mine, and he passed away of HIV/AIDS. And that’s when I said, you know, I can’t do too much, but maybe I can do this. Maybe I can give something, even for a little bit, it could maybe change somebody’s life.

When she got home I told her: “How you feel about maybe making music, with a message. You know, something that could give me new life.” And she told me “¡Sí papi, cómo no! Let’s do it. Let’s go for it.” So I said okay, this could become something.

Rosalia: We come up with a name, the concept of Los Doctores.

Louis: We figured a doctor is a person that wants to help people. ‘Cause we want to send a message to make the people feel good: As education, and also as a prevention tool. We have lyrics about protection.

Rosalia: Also about abstinence, condom use and testing.

Louis: We know the HIV is there, and we have to deal with that, but we try to not let that lead our lives, and stop us from doing other things.

Rosalia: Sometimes I worry, even if he gets like a flu, or when he’s fatigued: he have a condition, Rosalia, sooner or later maybe something can happen. Maybe not, maybe he can be very good for many, many years. And I hope that’s the way it’s gonna be, but I do worry.

What we’re doing now has helped us tremendously, as a couple, because we’re doing something creative, we feel we’re doing something good. And I think this is gonna be part of his memory, my memory, his daughter’s memory. At least we’re leaving something. He’s leaving something.

Louis: It keeps me going, because it gave me a new life. My past is my past. It’s funny that it took the HIV to change my life to a positive, because through the drugs and the alcohol, I wasn’t too happy with myself. I left my daughter when she was two years old. I couldn’t take that emptiness. I didn’t want her to think of me like that, like I was a dad that just didn’t care about his kid. So doing this is just something that I can hope she can be proud of me one day.