The founder of an organization which advocates for the rights AIDS patients says that a proposed Kansas law which allows HIV people to be quarantined would essentially give cover to religious officials who might want to discriminate against LGBT people.
"That rural county health department -- and I hate to say it -- potentially could use this bill to justify their religious belief that could override their professional belief," Positive Directions Inc.'s Cody Patton told KWCH on Tuesday.
Right now, it's against the law in Kansas to quarantine HIV positive people but House Bill 2183 changes that. The measure is intended to allow firefighters or paramedics who are exposed to bodily fluids during the course of duty to get the victim's blood tested without a court order. But lawmakers also added language that allows people with HIV and AIDS to be quarantined.
Patton said that he understood the need to protect emergency officials, but lawmakers had not thought through their decision to quarantine people with HIV.
"They didn't get that whole concept of being discriminated against," he pointed out. "And they didn't get that stuff still happens today."
Last week, the state Committee on Health and Human Services rejected an amendment by Sen. Marci Francisco (D) that would have restored the exclusion for people with HIV.