The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), under the United States Embassy in Ghana, will continue to fund and help strengthen government, civil society and community capacity to manage Ghana’s HIV/AIDS response even after the credibility of the Ghana AIDS commission had come under scrutiny, the ambassador has said.
The commission came under scrutiny after a 27-year-old woman, Joyce Dzidzor Mensah, a mother of two, who has been an Ambassador for GAC in the fight against discrimination against Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, recently told the media that she never tested positive for the disease.
Per the AIDS Commission’s regulations, only persons tested and confirmed as HIV positive can be Ambassadors in its Heart to Heart campaign, an action the commission is being accused of not doing in the case of Dzidzor Mensah, who confessed to and apologised for faking her status just to help in the national fight.
Although the AIDS Commission maintains that Dzidzor tested positive for the virus in 2007 and still carries the virus, their unwillingness to make public her medical records to counter her claims, has stoked speculations in the media that the commission has been negligent and guilty of partaking in Mensah’s deceit.
Ambassador Gene A. Cretz has, however, stated despite the recent occurrence, his government’s prerogative is to prevent the spread of AIDS and to support People Living with HIV (PLHIV), a quest they had embarked on in the country since 2007.
“The PEPFAR results that we’ve had in this country over the past several years have been a source of pride and achievement both for us and the Ghanaian government. We have worked very well with the Ghana Health Service, we find them to be a credible organisation,” Ambassador Cretz said at a press roundtable where he shared highlights on US-Ghana relations in the Year 2014, and a preview of what to look forward to in 2015.
Over $78 million has been invested since the programme’s inception and the ambassador said the nation will continue to receive support in the coming years as far as results are being achieved.
“The particular case you are referring to we haven’t delved into it and it has not had a significant impact.
“The PEPFAR programme and what we do in the health sector in general is to help improve the health of the Ghanaian population and as long as we can see that the results are clearly showing that there is a decrease in the prevalence of AIDS, and that people are being treated and that there is a management of the current AIDS cases in Ghana, we would continue to work with the Ghana Health Service and continue to provide funding for this,” Cretz stated.