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Lawmaker Suggests 'Quarantine' of People with HIV

23 October 2017

She is married to Tom Price, Donald Trump's disgraced former health secretary who was forced to resign under financial scandal.

Aside from the obvious moral implications-Price was more or less suggesting rounding up the disproportionately LGBTQ HIV-positive population-there's also the fact that this bad solution would never work.

A Georgia state representative has asking an expert at a public hearing whether it would be "legally" possible to quarantine people with HIV to stop the virus from spreading.

Georgia State Representative Betty Price stirred controversy after suggesting a "quarantine" of Georgians living with HIV/AIDS during a House committee meeting.

"I don't want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it", Price said during the October 17 meeting, which was recorded on video.

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"I do, however, wish to light a fire under all of us with responsibility in the public health arena - a fire that will result in resolve and commitment to ensure that all of our fellow citizens with HIV will receive, and adhere to, a treatment regimen that will enhance their quality of life and protect the health of the public", she continued. 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'.

During the hearing, Price also expressed fear at the high number of people living with HIV, implying that patients pose more of a public health risk now because they live longer. 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.

"It's very troubling to hear comments like that", said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, referring to Price's remarks.

Georgia ranks fifth among states for new HIV diagnoses.

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"We need to emphasize that in this day and age, quarantining is not a useful strategy to control HIV", Emory Center for AIDS Research co-director Dr. Carlos del Rio told STAT, adding he believed Price's intent was misinformed rather than malicious.

Later in the hearing, Price lamented improvements to HIV treatment that prevent patients from dying, thereby "posing a risk" to the rest of the population.

Price did not immediately respond on Friday to an email seeking comment.

The committee on which Price serves was convened to study reforms to the state's approach to chronic illnesses, including its HIV criminalization laws.

In 2015, only four states had more adults and adolescents living with HIV than Georgia, according to a fact sheet on the state's Department of Public Health website. The CDC also recently concluded HIV+ persons on medicine to suppress their viral load do not transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

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Lawmaker Suggests 'Quarantine' of People with HIV