Georgia state Representative Betty
Price, a Republican, this week asked whether the state can quarantine
Price made her comments Tuesday during
a two-hour meeting of the House Study Committee on Georgia's Barriers
to Access to Adequate Health Care, Project
Q Atlanta reported.
Price is a medical doctor and the wife
of Dr. Tom Price, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services
who was forced to resign earlier this year over a travel scandal.
groups welcome Tom Price's resignation as health secretary.)
During a discussion of HIV treatment,
Price asked Pascale Wortley, the director of the HIV Epidemiology
Section for Georgia Department of Health, whether quarantining
HIV-positive people was an option.
“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.
"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. What would you advise, or are
there any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the
spread?” Price asked.
After Wortley ignored the question,
Price seemed to suggest that managing HIV has created more risk
because people no longer die from the virus.
“It seems to me it’s almost
frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially
carriers, well they are carriers, with the 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 are not in treatment,” Price said.
Successful management of the disease
leads to undetectable level of the virus. Most experts agree that
under these conditions, the virus cannot be transmitted to another
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate
Ellis called on Price to apologize.
“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," Ellis said in a statement.
“This language coming from anyone is totally unacceptable, but
coming from a medical doctor and a Georgia State Representative it is
reprehensible. GLAAD is calling for a full apology for these remarks
on behalf of all people affected by this harmful statement.”