The Ghana AIDS Commission has countered claims by a famous HIV
Campaigner, Joyce Dzidzor Mensah that she has never tested HIV positive.
Ms. Mensah on Monday shocked the nation by claiming that she is HIV
negative. She had for years been the face of the country’s campaign against
the disease and the stigmatization associated with it.
But the Ghana AIDS Commission says she tested positive in 2007.
Read the full statement issued by the Commission
In 2011, the Ghana AIDS Commission embarked on a campaign to reduce
stigma and discrimination suffered by persons living with HIV in order to
provide a human face to HIV. The “Heart to Heart” Campaign was started with
three persons living with HIV; Rev John Azumah, Ms Gifty Torkonoo and Ms
Joyce Dzidzor Mensah.
The key requirements for “Heart to Heart” Ambassador duty, was for the
person to be HIV positive, and on treatment. The person should also have been
an advocate, voluntarily, on HIV-related issues in their communities with focus
on HIV prevention, treatment and reduction of stigma and discrimination. The
evidence of their HIV status was documented at the various health centres
they accessed treatment. Additionally, they were all registered members of
NAP+ Ghana, the Network of Persons Living with HIV. These individuals were
extensively engaged by legal, psycho-social and communication consultants
prior to their going public.
Joyce has been a member of NAP+ since 2007.
Miss Joyce Dzidzor Mensah was recruited as one of the Ambassadors at the
start of the campaign. She was recruited specifically, to promote HIV messages
in the area of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV. She signed
a contract with the Ghana AIDS Commission in August 2011. However, on the
12th of November, 2012 the Ghana AIDS Commission formally terminated
the contract with Joyce Dzidzor Mensah on account of breach of her terms of
contract. Unfortunately she failed to respond or engage with the Commission
for full exit debrief.
On a number of occasions, Joyce had failed to honour her duties related to the
“Heart to Heart” Campaign after agreeing to honour those programmes; she
failed to appear without prior notice to her colleagues or the coordinators of
the campaign; she rather chose to use the time to pursue her personal interest
such as a musical project within the first two years of the campaign; which was
in breach of her contract.
The “Heart to Heart” Campaign is still an active campaign with four current
Ambassadors who are Rev John Azumah, Mrs. Gifty Torkonoo (Degbeh), Mrs
Lydia Azumah and Ms. Charity Owusu-Danso. Joyce Dzidzor Mensah has not
been part of this campaign since December 2012. She has made several claims
on various platforms but has been unable to substantiate any of these to date.
The Commission therefore sees no need to directly respond to some of these
To the extent that the National response is compromised by her latest
statements, we wish to respond as follows:
By the National HIV and AIDS Policy and the ethics that govern the health
profession, details of Joyce’s health status cannot be shared with the public.
There is evidence to support her initial claim of being HIV positive since 2007
and she has been benefitting from antiretroviral therapy from health facilities
She was terminated on grounds that were fully explained and formally
communicated to her
The remaining Ambassadors remain committed and active under the flagship
of “Heart to Heart” Campaign and continue to work effortlessly to achieve the
goals of this campaign.
The Commission will nevertheless invite Ms Joyce Dzidzor Mensah to
further investigate and clarify her claims in order to inform any subsequent