Lawmaker Draws Backlash After Asking If HIV Patients Could Be 'Legally' Quarantined


A Georgia state representative - who is also an anesthesiologist and the wife of the former federal Health and Human Services secretary - asked at a public hearing Tuesday about the legality of quarantining HIV patients to stop the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.

"It's nearly frightening the number of people who are living that are...carriers with the potential to spread", she said. That goes double for Georgia, which ranked second in the nation for new HIV diagnoses in 2013, with black residents at the highest risk of contracting it. "So we've got a huge population posing a risk if they are not in treatment", Price said. "Whereas in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they're not posing a risk".

Price, whose husband, Dr. Tom Price, resigned last month from President Donald Trump's Cabinet, raised the issue during a committee meeting.

The quarantining of people with HIV has not been a matter of serious discussion since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

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In 2015, only four states had more adults and adolescents living with HIV than Georgia, according to a fact sheet on the state's Department of Public Health website. In 1987, the staunchly homophobic Sen. A 1986 ballot proposal in California would have paved the way for quarantines of people with HIV, although voters resoundingly defeated that proposal.

Tom Price - has called for HIV-positive people to be quarantined and for their sexual partners to be logged and tracked by the government, according to David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement.

Schoettes wrote: "As advocates for people living with HIV, we have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care".

Georgia Republican state Rep. Betty Price has suggested quarantining people living with HIV and AIDS.

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She added that she was "disappointed and dismayed" that the hearing didn't include "a single presentation or a voice from the community, from people living with HIV, or from folks who have been actually victimized by these HIV criminalization statutes that we have in the state of Georgia".

"GLAAD is calling for a full apology for these remarks on behalf of all people affected by this harmful statement", Ellis added.

The response didn't address the quarantine idea, but rather focused on other planned and existing methods of curtailing the spread of HIV.

We can't believe we have to explain this to an actual doctor, but locking up people when they're diagnosed with HIV is not only illegal, it's a really crappy way of preventing HIV.

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