'My first reaction was shock. Then I was angry, then lots of denial': Reality star Danny Roberts opens up about living with HIV
The 41-year-old stayed away from the limelight after his reality show stint and is now opening up about his HIV diagnosis and how it impacted him.
Danny Roberts from 'The Real World: New Orleans' back in 2000 has opened about his personal life after staying out of the limelight for several years. The former reality star has revealed that he is living with HIV. In a candid interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said: "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 opened up about his condition and how life has changed since his diagnosis. "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," he said.
He first found out about his diagnosis in 2011, when a doctor shared the information with him over a phone call. "My first reaction was shock. Then I was angry, then lots of denial," he explained. "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…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."
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Roberts was known for being open about his sexuality during his stint on the reality show. As a gay man, he inadvertently became a poster child for the movement against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned gays from openly serving in the military. At the time, Roberts was dating an officer and MTV obscured the boyfriend’s face so he wouldn’t be discharged as more than 1,200 servicemembers were that year.
After starring on the reality show, Roberts moved away from the public eye. Now, at 41, he has recently moved to New York City where he works as a digital design recruiter and has adopted a 2 1/2-year-old girl. Since his diagnosis, Roberts has been "undetectable" which in medical terms means that a person's viral load is low enough to remain undetected in a blood test and it also means that the virus can't be sexually transmitted from one person to another, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Danny's co-star Kelley Limp has remained especially supportive of Danny after he was diagnosed. "She's my life sister," he gushed. "She was one of the first people I turned to and talked to. She has been strong and helped me through this." Roberts has had an intense struggle with his condition, some that he has had to slowly come to terms with over the years. He explained, "I had so many negative feelings I was forced to face. I've been on such a journey to overcome that. In a way, this has really been like my second coming out."