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Georgia GOP Lawmaker Betty Price Wants to Quarantine HIV Patients, Hopes They Die Quickly

Betty Price - Wants to quarantine HIV patients
Betty Price - Wants to quarantine HIV patients

Georgia State GOP Rep. Betty Price said during a committee hearing Tuesday she wants to quarantine HIV patients, hopes they would “die more readily” and pose less of a risk to surrounding communities.



Betty Price is the wife of Tom Price, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration who resigned recently for private jets use.

HIV advocacy groups immediately denounced Price’s comments.

RELATED: HHS Chief Tom Price Resigns Following Uproar over Private Plane Use.

“I do not want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price said at the hearing. “Is there ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition, so we have a public interest in curtailing the spread? What would you advise, or are there any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

Price implied during the same committee hearing that overall public health would improve if people with HIV died sooner after contracting the disease.





“It is almost frightening the number of people who are living that are carriers with the potential to spread,” Price said. “Whereas in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they are not posing a risk.”

Rep. Price believes it is fair to speak generally about the state of Georgia’s interest in “curtailing the spread” of HIV, and that is a goal for Georgia, which ranked second in the nation for new HIV diagnoses in 2013.

Price did not suggest researching methods of preventing the spread of HIV. However she used the ‘quarantine’ word, as she put it, and that is a problem. Quarantining is to forcibly remove people from their community and keep them in confinement, even if doing so is against their will.

Price is not the first GOP to propose quarantining people with HIV. Former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms said in 1987 that “somewhere along the line, we are going to have to quarantine” HIV patients, and the Republican governor of Kansas Sam Brownback signed a bill abolishing the state’s ban on HIV quarantines in 2013.

“It is almost frightening the number of people who are living that are carriers with the potential to spread,” Price said. “Whereas in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they are not posing a risk.”

GLAAD, an organization that advocates for the interest of the LGBT community, said it considers Price’s remarks unacceptable and demanded an apology. “We have come a long way in how we understand and talk about HIV as a nation, and comments like those made by Georgia State Representative Betty Price fly in the face of that progress, and of basic decency,” Sarah Kate Ellis, President, and CEO of GLAAD said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Looking to the Future, NAACP Names a New Leader.

“This language coming from anyone is unacceptable, but coming from a medical doctor and a Georgia State Representative it is reprehensible. GLAAD is calling for a full apology for these remarks on behalf of all people affected by this harmful statement.”



Emory Center for AIDS Research co-director, Dr. Carlos del Rio said that Price’s comments were probably “not mean-spirited” but emphasizing nonetheless that quarantining is not a valid method for stopping the spread of HIV.

“We need to get public health [workers] to find people, get them into care, keep them in care, and keep them virally suppressed,” Dr. Carlos del Rio said. “If we can keep them virally suppressed, we can stop the epidemic.”

 

 

Contributor, The Liberal Advocate News

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