A Republican Georgia lawmaker and anesthesiologist has come under fire over comments made in which she questioned the legal measures that can be taken to quarantine those infected with HIV. Dr. Betty Price, wife to former federal Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price (pictured above) posed her question Tuesday (Oct. 17) during a public meeting.
“What are we legally able to do?” Price asked Dr. Pascale Wortley, director of the HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Surveillance Section at the Georgia Department of Public Health. “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?”
Price continued her query by stating prior to the advancement in medicine, those living with the disease died and thus weren’t a risk factor to the general public.
“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,” Betty Price said. “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.”
About 1.1. people are living with HIV, according to data gathered in 2014 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Upon learning of Price’s questions, representatives for the LGBTQ advocacy group and GLAAD have demanded an 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.It is “reprehensible” that the comments were made by a physician and a lawmaker, Ellis said.