/ Civil rights

Georgia State Representative Asks About Quarantining HIV Patients

What is this, 1983? The saddest part: Rep. Betty Price is also a physician. Nice bedside manner, doc.

Georgia state representative Betty Price may want to put certain people in camps. Specifically, people with the HIV virus.

“What are we legally able to do?” she asked at a state committee meeting on healthcare in October. “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?”

To be clear: She didn’t say “camps.” But since she is talking about a population of approximately 1.1 million people, it’s unlikely she meant electronic monitoring.

“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,” said Price, who is also a physician.

“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.”

They died more readily and then at that point they are not posing a risk? Nice bedside manner, doc.

Perhaps Rep. Price has focused solely on the literature in her medical specialty (anesthesiology) all these years rather than keeping up with the latest advances in HIV treatment. Or maybe she’s just appallingly insensitive.

(Fun fact: She's married to Tom Price, who served as Trump's secretary of Health and Human Services until resigning on Sept. 29 after his extensive use of chartered flights. Thanks to the taxpayers, he racked up an estimated $400,000 worth of airtime.)

What is she really saying?
We have no way of knowing whether “quarantine” is really dog-whistle for “round up da gayz!” Sure sounds like it, though.

If you’re going to talk about quarantining folks with HIV, why stop there? How about the estimated 850,000 to 2.2 million people with hepatitis B? Or with hepatitis C, who number approximately 3.2 million?

Don’t forget tuberculosis. More than 11 million (that is not a typo) people in the U.S. have latent TB, a condition that could progress into the disease. Tuberculosis has been one of the world’s deadliest diseases – and for the first time in a quarter-century, the number of actual cases has risen. Ready to put 11 million folks into quarantine, ma’am?

Rep. Price: Please educate yourself. Let’s not go back to the bad old days of the 1980s, when more than 4 in 10 people believed that civil rights should be suspended due to the AIDS epidemic. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.

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