Maryland official again makes controversial statements about HIV-positive people
October 14 2004 12:00 AM ET
On the heels of comments made last week that Maryland taxpayers deserve to know the names of all HIV-positive people in the state, Maryland comptroller and former governor William Donald Schaefer on Tuesday called people with AIDS "a danger" and said those who are HIV-positive "brought it on themselves," The Washington Post reports. "As far as I'm concerned, people who have AIDS are a danger," the 82-year-old former governor told the Post when asked about his comments last week. "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. They bring it on themselves. They don't get it by sitting on the toilet seat. A person who gives AIDS, who spreads AIDS, they're bad people. Everybody wants to be on the good side of everything. Well, I'm taking a stand."
AIDS activists as well as other Maryland health and government officials last week blasted Schaefer's call for a public registry for HIV-positive people, and decried the comments Schaefer made Tuesday. "That someone who holds his position could make such insensitive remarks and advocate such draconian policies and show such a complete level of ignorance, and yet feel that he is equipped to speak on the issue--I'm just dumbfounded," Dan Furmasky, executive director of Equality Maryland, told the Post. David Haltiwanger, director of clinical programs at Chase Brexton Health Services in Baltimore, a clinic for gay men and lesbians and those with AIDS, said he had thought Schaefer's comments last week were merely ignorant, but he now says it's clear Schaefer has a deep bias against HIV-positive people. "It seems he's done a good job of clarifying that his thinking was as hostile and ill-informed as his initial comments suggested," he told the Post.