Georgia Rep. walks back suggestion to quarantine HIV patients
The wife of ex-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is trying to clarify her suggestion that people with HIV should be quarantined.
Georgia Rep. Betty Price came under for this week for floating the idea that people with the disease that leads to AIDS be cordoned off to stop its spread.
The “provocative and rhetorical comment,” made during a public hearing Friday, was “taken completely out of context,” the state lawmaker said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients,” Betty Price said in the statement.
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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.
Price, who was a doctor for 20 years before moving into politics, was at a committee meeting Tuesday when a state health official discussed the daunting situation in Georgia.
The Peach State had the second highest rate of new HIV infections across the country, the head of the Georgia Department of Public Health's HIV/AIDS Epidemiology division said.
“What are we legally able to do? I don't want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price reportedly asked the section head, Dr. Pascale Wortley.
“Are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”
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Betty Price was a focal point of the probe into her husband, which ended last month in his resignation over his high-flying habit of using private jets.
The former HHS chief — also a doctor and ex-congressman — is estimated to have taken $1 million worth of private flights with taxpayer money, some times accompanied by his wife.