The lawmaker wife of former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price asked this week whether the government could quarantine people with HIV to limit transmission of the virus that causes AIDS.
Betty Price, a Georgia state representative from the Atlanta suburbs, made the inquiry during a Georgia House of Representatives study committee meeting about barriers to accessing adequate care. Price, an anesthesiologist, raised the question during an exchange with the director of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV/AIDS epidemiology section.
“I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price said during the meeting, which was videotaped.
“Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition,” she said. “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?”
Georgia had the fifth-highest rate among states of new HIV diagnoses in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state had a total of 46,870 people living with HIV in 2014, according to the CDC.
Tom Price resigned as HHS secretary last month amid multiple federal inquiries and growing criticism spurred by POLITICO reports of his use of private and government planes for travel, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1 million since May. Betty Price has served in the state Legislature since 2015.