Elton John is calling out Georgia State Rep. Betty Price.
John spoke out against the Republican, who recently made comments at a public hearing inquiring about the legality of quarantining people with HIV in order to help stop it from spreading. Since then, a litany of LGBT and HIV/AIDS advocacy groups have been demanding an apology. John, who founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, took issue with the idea.
Vice President Mike Pence shakes hands with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, accompanied by his wife Betty, after a swearing-in ceremony, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, in the in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
“Rep. Betty Price’s comments about people living with HIV are horrific, discriminatory, and astonishingly ill-informed. 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,” John wrote in the statement sent to Fox News. “Her words smack of a dark time when there was little or no information about HIV and people were afraid of each other. 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.”
Prior to the release of John’s statement, Price, who is married to former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she does not actually support a quarantine.
“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,” she said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Georgia was ranked fifth out of all 50 states for new HIV diagnoses in 2015.
In closing his statement, the famed singer bluntly suggested what he sees as the right course of action for the state representative to take.
“Mrs. Price should educate herself about HIV and user her position of power to provide support, resources and compassion to her constituents. Love is the cure. Not quarantines.”