A Georgia state representative who’s also the wife of the former Health and Human Services secretary said this week that she wonders if HIV patients should be quarantined.
Betty Price—the wife of Tom Price, who was fired from his job last month after a scandal involving the use of private planes—asked the head of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV Epidemiology Section what could be done to stop the spread of the disease.
“What are we legally able to do? I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price asked this week, via the Washington Post. “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. Are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”
More from Price, who is also an anesthesiologist, via CNN: “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 executive director of Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, said Price’s comments were “incredibly disturbing.”
“It’s very troubling to hear comments like that,” he told Stat News. “It shows the amount of work that still needs to happen to educate elected officials on the reality of the lives of people living with HIV. I’m hoping Rep. Price would be open to sitting down, meeting with folks, hearing how those comments sound, and recognizing that’s not the direction we need to go in.”