Danny Roberts is living with HIV.
The Real World: New Orleans star reveals in a new interview that he learned sometime around 2011 that he was HIV positive. Now, he’s ready to publicly share his story for the first time.
“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 reality star explains to Entertainment Weekly. “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 recalls going to the doctor for a check-up. But about a week later, he called his doctor, concerned, after passing out and waking up in a pool of blood. He says the doctor wanted to tell him the news in person, but delivered it to him over the phone.
“My first reaction was shock,” Roberts remembers. “Then I was angry, then lots of denial. 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.”
“The last thing I ever want is pity,” he continues. “I just want people to know and be aware. I knew so little myself, so I get it.”
EW reports that Roberts has been “undetectable since his diagnosis.” That means, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that the virus can’t be sexually transmitted from one person to another.
“Medicine has come so far,” Roberts says of new developments like “PrEP,” which helps to reduce the spread of HIV. “It’s incredible where we are and where we could be not far in the future.”
Roberts, who is now living in New York City and the father to an adopted 2-year-old girl, concluded the interview by thanking his friends and family for their consistent support, including his former Real World co-star, Kelley Limp.
“She’s my life sister,” Roberts says. “She was one of the first people I turned to and talked to. She has been strong and helped me through this.”
Following the release of the interview, Roberts took to Instagram Stories to share what he’s most thankful for this year ahead of Thanksgiving.
“What I’m really thankful for this year is medicine and a handful of friends who have been rocks in turbulent waters,” he wrote. “Without the incredible advances in medicine, I’d likely be gone by now. That’s a scary reality to face… mortality.”
“Thank you all for the support and outpouring,” he continued. “It really means a lot in a time when the past year felt so dark. Happy Thanksgiving!”
For more information on HIV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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