The HIV and STD (sexually transmitted disease) advocacy community is greatly disturbed by the reported line of questioning taken by Georgia State Representative Betty Price during a meeting of the House Study Committee on Georgians’ Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care. Rep. Price’s comments referring to people living with HIV as “carriers” dehumanize individuals living with and affected by HIV, and perpetuate stigma. Discussing quarantine, in any context, is archaic and extremely painful to the millions of families and friends who have lost loved ones in Georgia and across our nation. Pervasive stigma, strengthened by language like that used by the Representative, creates fear and hinders efforts to end the epidemic in the United States and worldwide.
We urge the House Study Committee to continue their conversation about modernizing Georgia’s HIV laws and ensuring access to care and treatment. We also call on Rep. Price to consider the impact of her words moving forward and urge her to meet with constituents living with or affected by HIV and experts from the state to fully understand this issue. Georgia’s elected officials should look to medical science, rather than rhetoric, as the way forward in ending the epidemic.
The above joint statement is from AIDS United (AU); the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD); the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD); the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC); and The AIDS Institute (TAI). All are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the United States. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV and STD prevention, care and treatment in the United States.
You can read more about Price’s comments in the POZ news article “Can We Quarantine People Living With HIV?”