Georgia State Representative Betty Price stirred controversy after suggesting a “quarantine” of Georgians living with HIV/AIDS during a House committee meeting.
During the Tuesday, October 17 meeting, Price, a licensed medical doctor and spouse to former Secretary of Health & Human Services Dr. Tom Price, came to the suggestion after discussing the barriers to treatment faced by Georgians living with HIV/AIDS.
“My thinking sometimes goes in strange 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?” Price asked a panel of lawmakers and public health experts.
The representative went on to hesitantly suggest a “quarantine” of those living with HIV/AIDS: “And I don’t want to say the ’quarantine’ word, but I guess I just said it. Is there an 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.”
Price later added to her controversial statement: “It seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers—well, not carriers, with the potential to spread, whereas in the past they died more readily and 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.”
Dazon Dixon Diallo of Georgia’s Coalition to End HIV Criminalization told HIV Plus Mag that Price’s comments proved there is work to be done on educating lawmakers about HIV/AIDS.
“[I am] absolutely disappointed and dismayed that we had a whole two-hour session today without 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,” Diallo noted.
The state of Georgia ranks fifth among the country’s highest rates of newly-diagnosed HIV patients, HIV Plus Mag reported.