A Georgia state lawmaker - the wife of former Trump health secretary Tom Price - is drawing condemnation for suggesting that people with HIV might be quarantined to curb the spread of the infectious disease.
State Rep. Betty Price asks if about the legality of quarantining people living with HIV during a House committee hearing, on October 17, 2017.
The jaw-dropping suggestion comes from Rep. Betty Price, an official in the Georgia House of Representatives.
State representative Betty Price, a Republican whose district includes parts of Atlanta's northern suburbs, asked the head of the Georgia Department of Public Health's HIV epidemiology section on Tuesday about stopping the spread of HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
"My thinking sometimes goes in odd directions, but before you proceed if you wouldn't mind commenting on the surveillance of partners, tracking of contacts, that sort of thing".
"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.
"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. 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.
A Georgia state representative is under fire after using the term "quarantine" when asking about methods to curtail the spread of HIV.
Meanwhile Wortley was discussing the possible treatment with the committee. "It shows the amount of work that still needs to happen to educate elected officials on the reality of the lives of people living with HIV. So we've got a huge population posing a risk if they are not in treatment", Price said.
The executive director of Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, said Price's comments were "incredibly disturbing".
Shortly after her comments, GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organisation, released a statement demanding an apology from Ms Price.
The committee on which Price serves was convened to study reforms to the state's approach to chronic illnesses, including its HIV criminalization laws.
Dr Wortley then explained the state's current methods of HIV patient identification and monitoring. According to CDC figures, one in 51 Georgians will contract HIV in their lifetime.
Antiretroviral therapy can also drastically reduce the chance of a HIV-infected person transmitting the virus.