Georgia Rep. Who Said People With HIV Should Be Quarantined: I Was Just Being “Provocative”

Betty Price insists her comments were "“taken completely out of context.”

The Republican representative who suggested HIV-positive people should be quarantined claims she was just trying to “provocative.”

During an October 17 committee meeting about amending HIV criminalization laws, Georgia state Representative Betty Price (R-Roswell) asked aloud about strategies to curtail the virus’ spread.

“I don’t want to say the ‘quarantine’ word, but I guess I just said it,” she remarked. “Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition?”

Price she was alarmed by “the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers.”

“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 are not in treatment.”

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But in a statement on Saturday, Price insisted her comments were “taken completely out of context,” and that her original statement was rhetorical. She maintains she was just trying to be “provocative.”

“I made a provocative and rhetorical comment as part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context,” Price told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients.”

Price, a former physician and the wife of former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, claimed she wanted to “light a fire under all of us with responsibility in the public health arena” to ensure HIV-positive people “receive, and adhere to, a treatment regimen that will enhance their quality of life and protect the health of the public.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.