Legislator calls for resignation of official who called people with AIDS "a danger"
Maryland state delegate John Adams Hurson is calling for the resignation of state comptroller William Donald Schaefer after Schaefer this week called people with AIDS "a danger" and said they brought their HIV infections on themselves, the Baltimore Sun reports. Hurson, a Democrat and chairman of the health and government operations committee of the Maryland house of delegates, said Schaefer's comments about AIDS were "the last straw. The comptroller's comments just show that he is really out of touch with where people are who are suffering from this disease," Hurson told the Sun. "It demonstrates not just his lack of sensitivity on this subject but the fact that, unfortunately, he has a string of statements that he has made that have indicated that maybe he is just not fit for his job."
Schaefer, the 82-year-old former governor of the state, couldn't be reached for comment on Hurson's call for his resignation.
Schaefer last week said that Maryland taxpayers deserve to know the names of all HIV-positive people in the state. In defending his call for such a public registry, The Washington Post reports, Schaefer on Tuesday 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. 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, health officials, and lawmakers in the state blasted Schaefer's call for a public registry for HIV-positive people and called his subsequent comments "ignorant" and "ill-informed." State attorney general J. Joseph Curran Jr. called Schaefer's comments "unfortunate."