Elton John, the British singer, pianist, and composer, responded on Monday the commentaries of Georgia State Rep. Betty Price, who said that people who have HIV and AIDS could be legally quarantined. According to her, she wanted to be intentionally “provocative.”
The Republican member of the Georgia state legislature, who’s also the wife of former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, talked about what the state that she represents would legally do to stop people spreading HIV. At the conference, she said that she didn’t “want to say the ‘quarantine’ word.” But then she continued saying “I guess I just said it.”
What Dr. Betty Price said about HIV and AIDS patients indeed provoked not only people across the country but also in the world. Right away, many important individuals and celebrated media stood out to defend patients suffering from this virus. Project Q, an outlet protector of the LGBT community in the region of Atlanta, first responded to Prince’s words.
The British composer, who also founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation and invests for HIV research and treatment, released this Monday a statement saying what he felt after listening to the words of the Republican lawmaker.
“Rep. Betty Price’s comments about people living with HIV are horrific, discriminatory, and astonishingly ill-informed,” the internationally recognized singer said. “As a doctor and elected official from a state where people are still contracting HIV at an alarming rate, Mrs. Price should know better than to demonize people and perpetuate myths that stigmatize people living with HIV.”
Is it legal to quarantine HIV positive people?
Both state and federal agencies can call a quarantine. However, they have to rule over a list of specific quarantinable diseases.
Some laws make the government able to quarantine people with an unspecified “communicable disease.” But, still, this is not as easy as it sounds. The last time the CDC updated the list was in 2014. Plague, tuberculosis, cholera, and Ebola are written on the list, but HIV isn’t.
The CDC today recollects data of HIV positive people, including their names. But back in 1980, the American people wanted the CDC to know more information than that.
In 1985, a poll showed that more than a half of Americans wanted to quarantine people with AIDS. In fact, few less than a half wanted positive people to have an ID, a tattoo or any other kind of mark that would let others know they were positive. A portion also asked the government that anyone who wanted to apply for a job had to be HIV tested first.
John remembered when Jesse Helms, a Republican senator from North Carolina, talked about quarantining people who tested positive in 1987. That, at a time when HIV and AIDS were spreading in America, caused many feelings on people who then asked the senator to retract his words.
“Her words smack of a dark time when there was little or no information about HIV and people were afraid of each other,” John said. “Today, thanks to scientific advancements, growing acceptance and love, people living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives. We also know people living with HIV pose no public threat.”
When Prince was then asked, she said to media that people misunderstood her.
Source: The Washington Post