Designer will reveal HIV positive status on tonight’s Top Design

On tonight’s Top Design, one of the cast members will reveal that they are HIV positive, becoming only the second cast member in reality TV history to reveal on camera that they have HIV. (This story identifies that Top Design cast member, and thus constitutes a mild spoiler.)

The first was The Real World San Francisco‘s Pedro Zamora, who revealed he was HIV positive on the show 13 years ago. On tonight’s episode of Top Design, John Gray tells the cast, “I just want everyone to know I’m HIV-positive. I’m not making excuses or apologies.”

He’s not “making excuses” for his behavior, which included clashing with his first-challenge teammate, Michael. As USA TODAY reports, John “reveals his anger was fueled by medication used in his treatment.” Specifically, it was “testosterone taken to counteract lower levels induced by HIV. His dosage was boosted 400% just before the show started.”

John tells the paper that he’s not making any kind of statement with his revelation. “I don’t want to be the new face for HIV or be on the cover of Out. I felt the cast was entitled to an explanation for my behavior,” he said.

The show’s executive producer, Clay Newbill, “coincidentally was a Real World producer during Zamora’s season,” USA TODAY notes. Newbill says, “Times have changed. Back then, society’s understanding was different. We saw it as an opportunity to educate people.”

‘Top’ designer tells housemates he has HIV [USA TODAY]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.