Maryland Comptroller Who Called for Public HIV Registry Delivers Meals to HIV-Positive People
Maryland Comptroller William Schaefer (D), who in October proposed a public registry of HIV-positive people in the state and called HIV/AIDS patients "a danger," on Dec. 24 helped deliver meals to homebound HIV-positive people, the Baltimore Sun reports (Rosen, Baltimore Sun, 12/25/04). Speaking in October at a Board of Public Works meeting in response to a question about his request for an AIDS registry, Schaefer said, "As far as I'm concerned, people who have AIDS are a danger. They're a danger to spread AIDS. People should be able to know who has AIDS. It costs an awful lot of money to treat them." Schaefer added that HIV-positive people only contract the virus through high-risk behavior. "They bring it on themselves," he said, adding, "They don't get it by sitting on the toilet seat. ... A person who gives AIDS, who spreads AIDS, they're bad people." Following Schaefer's comments, Maryland state Del. John Hurson (D) called for Schaefer's resignation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/26/04). Schaefer said about his previous comments, "They misunderstood me," adding, "People jump all over the comptroller and say he's a mean man and all that sort of stuff. I have great sympathy for people with AIDS." Schaefer on Dec. 24 delivered meals to two families for Moveable Feast, a not-for-profit organization that provides meals and groceries for about 600 HIV-positive people in Maryland. Moveable Feast Executive Director Vic Basile "valued" the chance to show Schaefer and others "the true face of AIDS," according to the Sun. "Had he not been, as he says, 'misunderstood,' we would not have had the opportunity to engage him like this," Basile said, adding, "He's a compassionate guy, and I don't think he said anything to be mean-spirited. But his comments reflected what some people believe: that blame is associated with this [disease]" (Baltimore Sun, 12/25/04).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.