Price’s wife on HIV quarantine remark: I was just being ‘provocative’

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Georgia Rep. Betty Price (R), wife of former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, defended her remark asking if people infected with HIV could be quarantined, insisting she was just being “provocative.”

“I made a provocative and rhetorical comment as part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context,” Price said in a statement published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. “I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients.”


Price’s question came last week during a study committee addressing challenges to health care access.

The committee was examining the spread of the HIV virus across the state of Georgia. In a video published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Price can be heard asking a question regarding the surveillance of individuals who come into close contact with patients infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

“What are we legally able to do, and I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price says. “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?”

Her remarks drew swift criticism. Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, called them “incredibly disturbing.”

Price’s husband, Tom Price, stepped down from his position as HHS secretary in September after reports that he had used private and government planes for official travel.

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