Twenty-seven-year-old Ghanaian actress-cum-singer Joyce Dzidzor Nartey says she contracted HIV in her church seven years ago.
Speaking on DStv's AfricaMagic channel, Nartey said: "I have lived with HIV/AIDS virus for seven years now. I contracted the disease in 2007. But I'm just a normal person. When people meet me and tend to find out how I'm feeling, I always tell them I'm a normal person," the mother of two and HIV/AIDS Awareness Ambassador said.
"I contacted the disease from a member of my church. I was to spend a night with him 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. But when he wanted to make love to me, I insisted that he must use condom. He told me that he didn't like using condom. However, when I insisted, he agreed but he never used it. He removed it. We did it several times that night.
"After few weeks, I became pregnant. When I told him, I was pregnant, he advised me to abort the baby. But I refused, insisting on keeping the baby. He later warned me that if I insisted, I would have myself to blame in future. I never knew what he meant until I was diagnosed as being HIV positive. He also infected other ladies in the church before he died."
On her marriage, she added that: "Before we got married, my husband was educated about the deadly disease. But he is also a carrier of the disease. At the moment, medically both of us are negative to HIV virus. This is because we have been put on medication for long. But that does not mean, we should stop taking our medication.
"Even though we test negative now, we keep taking our medication. We had one child together who did not test positive to HIV because of the medication. Marriage for me was normal but they say, in every marriage there are challenges.
"Things have happened in the past which I wouldn't want to talk about here. Talking about the stigma, there was one day, my seven-year old son came from school and told me to stop that HIV thing that I am doing.
"According to him, his friends said, they wouldn't play with him because his mum is HIV positive. There are challenges but life must go on." – Nigeriafilms.