Liv­ing with HIV

The Real World ’s Danny Roberts


Fans of MTV’S Real World re­call Danny Roberts as the charis­matic—and re­mark­ably ra­tio­nal—gay man from the show’s 2000 New Or­leans in­stall­ment. At the time, Roberts be­came a poster child for the move­ment against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” pol­icy that banned gays from serv­ing openly in the mil­i­tary. (He was dat­ing an of­fi­cer, and MTV ob­scured the boyfriend’s face so he wouldn’t be dis­charged.) Now 41 and fa­ther to an adopted 21⁄2-year-old girl, Roberts is mak­ing head­lines again by re­veal­ing he was di­ag­nosed with HIV ca. 2011. “My first re­ac­tion was shock. Then I was an­gry, then lots of de­nial,” he says. “Those early years were very dif­fi­cult.” He’s shar­ing his story in hopes of clear­ing up false­hoods about liv­ing with HIV. “I spent so long bat­tling and beat­ing my­self up for my own mis­con­cep­tions and big­otry,” he says. “It is dif­fi­cult to ad­mit the neg­a­tive feel­ings you had.”

Roberts, in 2018 (right) and with his Real World cast­mates in 2000. He still calls Kel­ley Limp (far right) his “life sis­ter.”

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