A Georgia Legislator Asked If She Could Quarantine People Living With HIV

Tom and Betty Price.   Alex Wong  Getty Images

Tom and Betty Price. Alex Wong Getty Images

A Georgia state representative wants to know if AIDS victims can legally be quarantined to stop the spread of the disease.

Price made the comment during a House study committee meeting which was ironically focused on the barriers HIV-positive people face.

The jaw-dropping suggestion comes from Rep. Betty Price, an official in the Georgia House of Representatives.

While Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price proposed a budget that threatened huge cuts HIV and AIDS funding under the National Institutes of Health.

Rep Price said: 'My thinking sometimes goes in unusual directions, but before you proceed if you wouldn't mind commenting on the surveillance of partners, tracking of contacts, that sort of thing.

"What are we legally able to do?" she asked.

In all fairness to Price, she did speak more generally about the state's interest in "curtailing the spread" of HIV, and that's a perfectly laudable goal. "Are there any methods we could do legally to curtail the spread?"

Wortley, who had just explained HIV treatments as well as routine medical care remain out of reach for many Georgians, responded that the state was already attempting to track the spread of the virus and get more people into care.

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". Tom Price - spoke out this weekend in defense of her controversial remarks about quarantining people with HIV and surveilling their sexual and romantic partners.

"It seems to me it's nearly frightening, the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers".

Dr Wortley then explained the state's current methods of HIV patient identification and monitoring.

Advocates are calling on Georgia to update its laws to reflect the current science, showing you can not pass on HIV through saliva, or through sexual contact when a person is virally suppressed through taking antiretroviral drugs.

"I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients", Berry Price said in the statement. "However, we can not ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously".

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".

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