Skater Reveals Illness

Rudy Galindo, figure skating’s first openly gay champion, says he is HIV-positive. Galindo, 30, told PEOPLE that he learned of his diagnosis three weeks ago after shortness of breath forced him to pull out of February performances for “Champions on Ice” and the Goodwill Games. “I was afraid to go to the doctor,” he told PEOPLE. “In my heart I knew I had something worse than bronchitis or the flu.” Galindo, who in 1996 became the first Latino to win the U.S. Nationals, has often been touched by tragedy: His older brother George and two of his trainers died of AIDS in a span of six years, and his mother is a schizophrenic who was frequently too ill to take care of her children. The skater is receiving an aggressive form of treatment for HIV called antiretroviral therapy and his doctor says his prognosis is good. In fact, Galindo is back in the rink: He rejoined “Champions on Ice” this month.

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