Danny Roberts is sharing his truth. The Real World: New Orleans alum revealed in a new interview that he found out around 2011 that 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 told Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday, November 20. “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 starred on the MTV reality series in 2000. At the 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. Roberts famously spoke out against the now-repealed policy, which forced LGBT servicepeople to hide or lie about their sexual orientation.
These days, the Georgia native works as a digital design recruiter in New York City and is the father of an adopted 2-year-old daughter.
Roberts told the magazine that he found out about his diagnosis during a phone call with his doctor.
“My first reaction was shock. Then I was angry, then lots of denial,” he recalled. “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.”
Roberts explained that he has been “undetectable” since being diagnosed, which means that he has a low level of the virus in his blood and it cannot be sexually transmitted to another person.
For support, the former reality star turned to his costar Kelley Limp. “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.”
For more information on HIV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.