The lady who stunned Ghanaians this week by making a dramatic U-turn on her HIV status says she believes she will not be stigmatized after revealing her grand deception.
Joyce Dzidzor Mensah was for years, the nation’s most famous campaigner against HIV and its concomitant stigmatization. She traveled the length and breadth of the country, addressing students, churches, and other public gatherings and talking about HIV Aids.
She symbolized hope and a success story in the fight against the deadly disease.
But many Ghanaians had a rude awakening Monday when the Daily Guide newspaper reported her as saying she had never been tested HIV positive.
The National Aids Commission which worked with Joyce for years, parading her as an HIV-infected person, issued a statement insisting she had been tested HIV positive in 2007.
However, in an interview on pm: Express on the Joy News Channel on MultiTV, the lady said the Aids Commission does not know what it is talking about. The Commission, she said, has no proof of its claims because it never asked for a test from her.
She said even though she lied, she did it for a good cause. “I have made a great impact; in the market, church, even in the villages, people call me for education on HIV Aids,” she said. But the story is getting murkier because Joyce’s ex-husband, Benjamin Tettey Nartey, says she is lying.
She is HIV positive and that is not in doubt, he insists. In an interview granted ABN TV, Mr. Nartey said, his ex-wife is denying her HIV status now because she believes that will protect her two children from stigmatization.
Mr. Nartey said he met Joyce at a meeting of persons living with HIV Aids and they struck a chord. She had difficulties going to the hospital and joining long queues for her anti-retroviral drugs, he stated. “I told her that I could get my classmate who was a medical doctor at Korle-Bu who always helped me to avoid the queues to do same for her and that is how we started dating,” he told ABN.
He said they subsequently got married and when she became pregnant, they had to undergo medical procedures to ensure that the unborn child was not infected.
He said Joyce is simply lying because her son suffered stigmatisation in school.