The wife of Tom Price, who recently resigned as Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, suggested quarantining persons with HIV.
Georgia State Rep. Betty Price asked whether the government could “quarantine” people infected with HIV while participating in a Georgia House study committee.
LGBT website Project Q Atlanta was the first website to report the story, with others such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution later reporting on Price’s remarks.
According to Project Q Atlanta:
Price’s suggestion came Tuesday during a two-hour meeting of the House Study Committee on Georgians’ Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care. Price – a medical doctor and wife of Dr. Tom Price, the former Secretary of Health & Human Services – asked Pascale Wortley if quarantining people was an option given how much the state spends on care for people with HIV. Wortley, director of the HIV Epidemiology Section for Georgia Department of Health, was discussing HIV treatment with the committee.
Price can be heard in the clip below, stating that:
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?
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 made other, equally disturbing remarks during the meeting suggesting a possible justification for her proposed quarantine, according to Project Q Atlanta, such as:
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.
The founder and executive director of SisterLove, Dazon Dixon Diallo, told Project Q Atlanta that Price’s remarks show the need for HIV activists and organizations to continue working to educate lawmakers about the reality of HIV.
“When we come into spaces like this and we hear questions around how legally far can we go to isolate people or even quarantine people, then it just lets you know that we have a real uphill battle,” Diallo said, adding that she was “encouraged by some of the voices and the questions on the panel,” but was concerned about Price’s remarks as well as by the lack of participation in the discussion by individuals living with HIV, stating that:
[I am] absolutely disappointed and dismayed that we had a whole two-hour session today without a single presentation or a voice from the community, from people living with HIV, or from folks who have been actually victimized by these HIV criminalization statutes that we have in the state of Georgia.
You can listen to Price’s remarks beginning at the 1 minute, 2 second mark in the video below: