Legislators in Kansas are close to passing House Bill 2183, which has already passed in the state Senate, amends Kansas’ public-health regulations to allow for the isolation of people with “infectious diseases.” The bill could allow for those who are living with HIV or AIDS to be quarantined.
Kansas lawmakers have refused to add an exemption to the bill for people with HIV/AIDS. AIDS Healthcare Foundation director Michael Weinstein says “either shows how little they understand about HIV and how it is transmitted… or it shows that they want the ability to quarantine people, and/or discriminate against them in other ways as they see fit.”
Weinstein says either rationale reveals “a real lack of understanding about public health and safety.”
The bill’s original intent was to aid EMT’s and firefighters in finding out whether someone they were exposed to on the job, is a carrier of an infectious disease. The bill in its current state, could allow for discrimination of HIV-positive Kansas residents.
Cody Patton, Executive Director of sexual health charity Positive Directions, said:
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.
Lawmakers from both the House and Senate are joining together to get this law passed, meaning it will likely be voted on and passed in the next few weeks.
Here is a copy of the amended bill. The statute regarding HIV/AIDS begins on page two line 16.