One Georgia lawmaker recently floated the idea of quarantining people infected with HIV to keep the virus from spreading and it has some groups very upset.
State representative and anesthesiologist Dr. Betty Price inquired about the practice at a recent committee hearing for Georgia Department of Public Health Dr. Pascale Wortley, who is director of the HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Surveillance Section.
“I don’t want to say the ‘quarantine’ word, but I guess I just said it. … What would you advise, or are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”
The wife of former Health and Human Services Secretary went on: “It just seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers — well, they are carriers — but, potential to spread. Whereas, in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they are not posing a risk. So, we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they’re not in treatment.”
The doctor did not answer Price’s question. He instead discussed education programs for the state, but the questions were enough to spark outrage and now LGBTQ groups, including GLAAD, are asking for a public 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,” the group’s president, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a written statement. Ellis also called the comments ‘reprehensible,’ specifically because they came from a doctor and legislator.
Just over 1.1 million people are believed to be living in the United States with HIV, according to the CDC.
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