Danny Roberts, a former cast member on the The Real World: New Orleans, has revealed something very sad and very personal iin a new interview with Entertainment Weekly.
He is HIV positive.
“The reason I want to share this story is that I spent so long battling and beating myself up for my own misconceptions and bigotry,” the 41-year-old said this week, adding:
“It is difficult to admit the negative feelings you had about a set of people and state of being based on made-up stories.”
Roberts appeared on the aforementioned MTV reality series in 2000.
At that time, he was dating a military officer named Paul Dill, whose face was obscured by the network so he wouldn’t be discharged under the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
It was unusual for a prominent television show to depict such a relationship during that area.
Back then, Roberts famously spoke out against the since-repealed policy, which forced LGBT servicepeople to hide or lie about their sexual orientation.
Roberts shunned the spotlight for a number of years after making a name for himself on The Real World.
However, he recently moved to New York City, where he works as a digital design recruiter and is a dad to an adopted 2 1/2-year-old daughter.
He discovered his disease in 2011 after passing out and then waking up in a pool of blood.
Worried, he called his physician and explained what had transpired.
The doctor replied with the diagnosis (from a previous week's check-up that he had been waiting to reveal to Roberts until they met again in person) that would change his life forever.
“My first reaction was shock. Then I was angry, then lots of denial,” Roberts tells EW, elaborating:
“Those early years were very difficult and very lonely. You don’t know whom to turn to have conversation and people don’t know what to say. It’s not something that people have experience with.
"There’s also the potential likelihood of massive judgments about what behaviors led to this and what kind of people this happens to.”
At this point, there is good news, though:
Roberts says that he has been “undetectable” since being diagnosed, which means that he has a low level of the virus in his blood.
This also means it cannot be sexually transmitted to another person.
Danny adds that he's remained close with Real World co-star Kelley Limp, who is pictured with Roberts and company below.
"She’s my life sister,” he told EW. “She was one of the first people I turned to and talked to. She has been strong and helped me through this.”
In conclusion, meanwhile, Roberts does not want you feeling sorry for him.
He wants to emphasize that he isn't dying due to HIV; he is living with the illness.
"The last thing I ever want is pity. I just want people to know and be aware. I knew so little myself so I get it," he says.
We wish Danny Roberts the best.