ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia state lawmaker who is married to former U.S. health secretary Tom Price asked during a legislative committee meeting about the possibility of quarantining people with HIV.
State Rep. 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 at Tuesday’s meeting about stopping the spread of HIV — the virus that causes AIDS.
“What are we legally able to do? I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price can be seen asking the official, Dr. Pascale Wortley, in a video of the study committee meeting on barriers to adequate health care.
“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,” she continued. “Are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”
Price didn’t immediately respond Friday to an email seeking comment
Like her husband, who resigned last month as Health and Human Services secretary following an outcry over his use of costly private planes for official travel, Betty Price is a doctor. Her legislative biography says she worked as an anesthesiologist for more than two decades, served on the boards of the Medical Association of Atlanta and the Medical Association of Georgia and is a past president of the American Medical Women’s Association in Atlanta.
In 2015, Georgia ranked fifth highest in the country for the number of adults and adolescents living with HIV, according to a fact sheet on the state’s Department of Public Health website. The total number of people living with HIV infection in Georgia on Dec. 31 of that year was 54,574 and nearly two thirds of them lived in the Atlanta metro area.
Project Q Atlanta, a website serving the city’s gay community, was the first to report Price’s comments.