When I think of people being quarantined, I immediately think of movies like “Outbreak”, but now, I guess I’ll add Kansas to that list. Lawmakers are close to passing House Bill 2183, which was originally intended for first responders who were exposed to bodily fluids to get a victim’s blood tested without a court order, but now with recent updates to the bill it will allow the quarantine of Kansas residents with “infectious diseases”, namely HIV and AIDS.
Cody Patton, Executive Director of sexual health charity Positive Directions, said: “We live in a very conservative state and I’m afraid there are still many people, especially in rural Kansas, that have inadequate education and understanding concerning HIV/AIDS. My fear would not be the state uses the law as some way to move all people living with HIV/AIDS into an isolated community, but that this law could allow some county employee to use this law to justify their religious beliefs over their professional responsibilities and discriminate against people with HIV/AIDS.”
Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said by including HIV and AIDS in this updated law, Kansas legislators are harkening back to the ‘earliest, darkest days’ of the AIDS epidemic.
He said: “At best, it is short-sighted of Kansas legislators to reject Senator Francisco’s amendment. It either shows how little they understand about HIV and how it is transmitted – it is not spread through casual contact such as TB or other airborne communicable diseases – or it shows that they want the ability to quarantine people, and/or discriminate against them in other ways as they see fit.
The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled state Senate last Thursday by a vote of 29 to 11. It breezed through the Republican-controlled state House earlier this month, 122 to 1. Both the House and Senate appointed members of a conference committee earlier this week to finalize the bill before it goes to Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) desk to be signed into law.
Kansas Bill Calls For HIV Positive People To Be Quarantined