Georgia state Rep. Betty Price (R) — wife of ousted Health and Human Services Sec. Tom Price — spoke out this weekend in defense of her controversial remarks about quarantining people with HIV and surveilling their sexual and romantic partners.
According to Politico, Mrs. Price released a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that said, “I made a provocative and rhetorical comment as part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context. I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients. I do, however, wish to light a fire under all of us with responsibility in the public health arena.”
Mrs. Price — a physician — raised the question of quarantining people with HIV last week at an open hearing about improving Georgians’ access to healthcare.
“(B)efore 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?” she asked Dr. Pascale Wortley, the director of the HIV Epidemiology Section for Georgia Department of Health.
Price went on, “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?”
Tom Price is a former Georgia GOP congressman who represented former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R)’s old district, Georgia’s District 6 — which encompasses some of Atlanta’s most affluent neighborhoods.
He was forced to resign from the Trump administration after it was revealed that he’d squandered more than $1 million in taxpayer funds on lavish use of chartered private jets.