I've been trying for a couple of days to figure out how to even talk about this without throwing my computer out the window and then burrowing my body into some soft mud underneath my back porch and just hiding there forever. I hope this approach doesn't seem trivializing, but I'm simply speechless. So here are some gifs.
State legislators in Kansas are considering a bill that would allow the quarantine of people with AIDS or HIV.
Kansas House Bill 2183 was originally created to serve first responders who might be at risk of contracting HIV through their work. But the Kansas Department of Health and Environment rewrote the language in the bill, broadly deregulating when isolation can take place and opening up the possibility that HIV positive people could be quarantined.
Activists fear this oversight could be used to openly discriminate.
"Our state's health department is willing to roll back a 25-year old civil rights protection," Thomas Witt, the Executive Director of the Kansas Equality Coalition, told ThinkProgress. "LGBT Kansans are already subject to harassment and legal discrimination, and removing the existing HIV quarantine exemption from law leaves vulnerable Kansans at risk of discriminatory, unfair treatment by local officials."
Other activists have also expressed concern that Kansans might not understand how HIV can be spread, and have implicit biases thanks to a lack of knowledge. "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," Cody Patton, of sexual health group Positive Directions told Gay Star News.
This theory was also evidenced by a debate earlier this year, when the Kansas health department eliminated HIV testing for most counties in the state.
The Kansas senate has approved the HIV quarantine bill, and it looks likely to pass.
During a hearing about the measure on Wednesday, however, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it would be willing to work with groups to fix what they considered problematic aspects of current proposal.
Oh, oops, what I meant to say was:
Okay, talk to you guys later.
Kansas Bill Seeks To Quarantine HIV-Positive People [ThinkProgress]