|Joyce Dzidzor Mensah|
Joyce Dzidzor Mensah, Ghana’s highly respected HIV/AIDS Ambassador, has told NEWS-ONE she had never tested positive for HIV but was only telling the nation and the world a lie just to satisfy her selfish interests.
Joyce has claimed over the years that she was HIV positive but was a healthy person because she was on antiretroviral drugs.
She has had support and funding from several organisations, institutions, banks and civil society in her campaign across the country on how to prevent HIV and how persons who have tested positive can live healthily and happily with the virus.
Surprisingly, Joyce, 27, has told NEWS-ONE she was only a scammer and that she decided to engage in a wild public deceit so as to get a place to lay her head at a time her neighbours were wrongly accusing her of having HIV.
“I was known as the HIV ambassador. The story I shared in the past years was a fusion of my story and the stories of others. The truth of the matter is, I was never infected with HIV,” she said.
Meanwhile Dzidzor has toured several Ghanaian schools and mounted international platforms to fight the stigma against HIV & AIDS victims as well as encouraging young men and women to abstain from premarital sex and unprotected sex.
Below is exactly what Dzidzor said:
“THIS IS THE STORY
I met a man in my church where I used to fellowship. We fell in love but I didn’t know of his HIV status.
Though he knew he was HIV positive, he never told me. A member of the church who is a nurse once saw me with him and she called me to advise me. The nurse advised me to be careful with him because she knew of his HIV status. Fortunately for me, I met the nurse just a day after I had sex with the man.
I then confided in the nurse and she asked me to quickly report at the hospital so that I can be given PEP (Post Exposure Profilaxis). I did exactly that in order not to contract the HIV virus.
I became pregnant though, but I decided to keep the pregnancy.
My boyfriend fell sick and died before I had the baby. People stigmatised me without knowing if I contracted HIV from him or not. I was eventually beaten and thrown out of the house I was living in with my parents. Having nowhere to stay, I went to live in the secretariat of the associations of persons living with HIV.
I played along and behaved as if I had HIV too just to have a place to lay my head and learn from people living with HIV. I attended a lot of workshops organised by NGOs on HIV just to equip myself with information. I heard lots of HIV interesting stories from people on stigma related issues.
At a point in time, I accepted and lived like a person living with HIV. And I always told my story as if I was living with HIV. I shared my story based on what I went through just to let people know that people with HIV are normal human beings.
I would have contracted the virus and probably died but God saved me. That was why going to schools to educate them became my passion just for students to abstain from premarital sex.
WHY I ACTED AS A PERSON LIVING WITH HIV
I realised that there was no way of defending myself when people started gossiping about me in my neighbourhood. It was because my boyfriend in the church died of AIDS and my church members and neighbours knew he died of AIDS. There was no way I could ever defend myself.
At a point, I had to accept the situation at hand. I knew there was going to be a time the truth about my status was going to come out, and this is the time.
I plead with the general public and my fans not to be disappointed in me for acting all these years. It was worth it because a lot of lives were saved through my advocacy work.
I also sincerely apologise to the hundreds of churches I have been to with my message both in Ghana and abroad to forgive me. I did it to fight HIV stigma and discrimination.
I also plead with schools, institutions and banks who have all benefited from my story to forgive me.
I now therefore want to thank all who have supported me throughout these years one way or the other.
Why The Confession Now?
I want to officially announce to the general public that I am no more the HIV ambassador due to the fact that the First Lady has been made the HIV ambassador.
Also, there have been rumours in town that I am dead but as at now I don’t know the source of the information. I was out of the country for three months now and I returned only to be receiving calls and text messages asking if I’m dead. My stepfather nearly collapsed when he heard the news about my death. I want to inform everyone that I am not dead.”
By Francis Addo (Twitter: @fdee50 Email: email@example.com)