Ghana AIDS Commission Describes Dzidzor As Imposter

Joyce Dzidzor Mensah

The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) is to investigate Ms Joyce Dzidzor Mensah (Nartey), an HIV and AIDS ambassador, to clarify her claims that she is HIV-negative.

The outcome of the investigation will inform the commission on any subsequent actions.

The investigation has become necessary after Ms Mensah had revealed at the weekend on several media platforms that she had never been infected with the virus, despite parading as a carrier for several years.

She was an HIV and AIDS ambassador for the GAC and subsequently produced an HIV-themed movie “My Cross Roads” which featured herself, John Dumelo, Ecow Smith Asante, Vicky Zugah and Benjamin Kwadey, among others.

According to a statement issued by the commission, there was evidence to support her initial claim of being HIV-positive since 2007 and she had been benefiting from antiretroviral therapy from health facilities in Accra.

GAC’s statement

In 2011, the GAC embarked on a campaign to reduce stigma and discrimination suffered by persons living with HIV in order to provide a human face to HIV.

To that end, the “Heart to Heart” Campaign was launched with Rev. John Azumah, Ms Gifty Torkonoo and Ms Joyce Dzidzor Mensah, three persons who were all believed to be living with the HIV virus, serving as ambassadors.

The commission said the key requirements to become a “Heart to Heart” ambassador were that the person must have been HIV-positive and on treatment.

Also the person should have been an advocate, voluntarily, on HIV-related issues in their communities with focus on HIV prevention, treatment and reduction of stigma and discrimination.

Among the requirements was also that the evidence of their HIV status was documented at the various health centres they accessed treatment.

Additionally, a would-be ambassador, according to the GAC, was to be a registered member of NAP+ Ghana, which is a Network of Persons Living with HIV.

“Such individuals were extensively engaged by legal, psycho-social and communication consultants prior to their going public”, according to the GAC.

Ms Joyce Dzidzor Mensah (Nartey)

Ms Mensah, now a divorcee, with two children, according to the GAC, had been a member of NAP+ since 2007.

She was recruited by the GAC specifically to promote HIV messages in the area of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

She signed a contract with the commission in August 2011.

As part of her contract, she visited schools where she mentored young people and also attended international conferences with the commission.

She also mounted stages during national celebrations on World AIDS Day observed every December 1.

Termination of contract

According to the GAC, on November 12, 2012, the GAC formally terminated her contract on account of a breach of her terms of contract; a situation which she is said to have failed to respond to or engage with the commission for full exit debrief.

Evidence to prove HIV+ status

According to the GAC, by the National HIV and AIDS Policy and the ethics that governed the health profession, details of Ms Mensah’s health status could not be shared with the public.

The commission still maintained that there was evidence to support her initial claim of being HIV-positive since 2007 from which she had been benefiting from anti-retroviral therapy from health facilities in Accra.

Her revelation

Ms Mensah, who, after her revelation, pleaded with the general public to forgive her for her actions, said it was worth it as a lot of lives were saved through her advocacy work.

She said she was ready to face any consequences that would arise as a result of her action.

Her imaginary story

For years, Ms Mensah has made the general public, including the international community believe that she contracted the disease in 2007 through a member of her church after she had spent a night with the said church member in his house.

“When he removed his clothes, I saw some kind of rashes all over his body. I was terrified, as I innocently asked him why he was like that. He covered up, saying it was a minor skin infection and that it was nothing serious”.

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