US: Georgia Rep. Betty Price responds to critics on HIV quarantine query

State Rep. Betty Price, working with a legislative committee studying access to healthcare, asked a state official this week if there was a legal way to quarantine people with HIV.

Price, R-Roswell, is a physician and the wife of Tom Price, who recently resignedas U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Her questions came during a presentation by a state epidemiologist, who told the committee that at least a third of Georgia’s people with HIV are not getting care.

“And I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price said. “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 added, “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.”

Georgia ranks among the heaviest-hit states in the nation. Georgia is second only to Louisiana in new cases, with 28.3 per 100,000 population as of 2015, Wortley said. Among Georgians who have HIV, just about half are virally suppressed, meaning that medicine has reduced the person’s virus to undetectable levels.

Reese McCranie was among many gay rights advocates who spoke out about Price’s comments.

“I find her comments repugnant and a total disgrace,” said McCranie, a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s steering committee and a Democrat who is running for a seat on the Fulton County Commission. “They reveal her ignorance around HIV, its transmission, its treatment and the strategies to combat it.” Read more via the Atlanta Journal Constitution