Some persons have criticized former HIV and AIDS ambassador, Joyce Dzidzor Mensah for public deceit after she disclosed that she was never HIV positive although she gladly accepted to lead the campaign.
The reason several Ghanaians condemned her profusely was because of the criteria for choosing an Ambassador to lead the HIV/AIDS Campaign.
The criteria as stated by herself (Joyce Dzidzor), should be someone who is already on the field and working for the AIDS Commission voluntarily and secondly the person should be an HIV Positive.
But the Former HIV/AIDS Ambassador disclosed that he accepted the responsibility to champion the course of the AIDS Commission though she knew her HIV status was negative.
In an interview with Andy Dosty on Hitz FM, Dzidzor Mensah revealed that after being ejected from her house because she was being stigmatised based on the fact that people thought she was positive because her boyfriend died as a result of contracting the deadly disease HIV/AIDS, she had no other option than to find solace among the Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+).
“I have tested for HIV severally times and the results have always been NEGATIVE, my current result is still NEGATIVE. I’ve never tested POSITIVE.
“The position I was holding as an Ambassador, telling the public I was HIV Positive was really helpful. This wasn’t public deceit… No matter what I said people won’t have believed me because of the community I found myself in. I was already tagged with HIV and I even lost my job because of that though they didn’t know my real status.
“I used my ‘FAKE’ HIV status as an advantage to educate the people… I didn’t see it as public deceit. The campaign really made a lot of impact so please let’s look at the positive aspect and not the negative impact.” She said
Dzidzor Mensah being so confident about her public outburst claiming she was never HIV positive, but had to parade herself as one to save the lives of women living with the disease.
Ms Mensah, a divorcee with two children confirmed on Hitz FM she is HIV negative, a claim the Ghana AIDS Commission and NAP+ has denied.
“The criteria was somebody who is already on the field, voluntarily working on HIV issues or has dedicated their lives already educating people and secondly the person has to be HIV Positive.
“At that time when I accepted to lead the campaign, I knew I wasn’t HIV positive but because I was stigmatized and called names. And also because of my former boyfriend who died, many thought he died of AIDS. I later found out that my late boyfriend died of meningitis but earlier I thought he died of HIV/AIDS because he was growing lean everyday. I wasn’t married to him so I was privy to his autopsy report.”
She claimed that her husband who also died sometime ago, did not die of HIV/AIDS as reported.
According to her, her late husband knew he was HIV negative but he always insisted to run the HIV test periodically.
“My late husband is a handsome guy and he vividly told me he had slept with uncountable ladies yet ladies crushed on him. I didn’t know why he was always going to the hospital to test for HIV every month.” She added
Meanwhile, Ms Mensah has been reported to have said her reason for denouncing her HIV status was to save her son from the public stigmatization.
Joyce Dzidzor Mensah, many Ghanaians believed was HIV positive and served for 5 years as an official HIV/AIDS Ambassador for Ghana AIDS Commission.
Five years later, she came public to say her HIV status was a sham – thus, she never contracted the deadly disease.
Explaining herself, she said she did what she did to help the AIDS Commission create awareness for the dreaded HIV/AIDS virus – plus she was treated as Ishmael by family and friends.
She later changed her story and indicated that she was HIV positive but had been cured. She went into hibernation only to resurface with another story cynics may consider cock and bull.
However, she narrated what ensued between Ghana AIDS Commission and her, concerning the task she was given and how they terminated the contract abruptly when she openly denounced her HIV status.
According to Joyce Dzidzor Mensah, the doctor who conducted series of test to prove if she had contracted HIV, revealed she has never contracted HIV/AIDS.
“The issue at stake now is not really whether I have HIV or not. At the time I was the Ambassador, No bank supported me, so I was surprised to see stories claiming I solicited for funds from Banks. The people who funded the movie I premiered at the National Theatre were Zoomlion, giving Ghc10,000, Equity Assurance gave me Ghc5,000 and JA Plant Pool also gave me GHc5,000.
“I took loan of Ghc15,000 from UT Bank to shoot my movie. I also took additional loans from my father-in-law and my Pastor. In all I spent about Ghc70,000 yet run at a lost. I couldn’t pay back the loans I took from my In-law and my pastor – Apostle Ahalivor who was the then Church of Pentecost, Madina Area Head.
“Ghana Aids Commission told me that they can’t buy me a car but anytime I have an event, there will be vehicle to convey me to the place. They also added that they will pay me Ghc 800.00 instead of the Ghc3,000 agreed amount every month for five years and rent an accommodation for me.
“My son was the reason I denounced my HIV/AIDS status because he was stigmatized in school. My son complained to me how his school colleagues mocked him because of my HIV/AIDS campaign. He told me to stop the Ambassadorial duties or he will stop schooling and I had no option than to heed to my son’s decision.
“I still had sex without protection with my husband but I don’t know about his status.” Joyce Dzidzor Mensah told Vibes in 5.