Maryland official again calls for public HIV registry
Maryland comptroller and former state governor William Donald Schaefer on Friday again called for a public registry of HIV-positive people in the state, but this time he said such a registry should be limited to those who knowingly expose others to the virus, the Baltimore Sun reports. Schaefer, speaking on WBAL radio's Chip Franklin Show, said, "Let's put on the registry those who are known givers of AIDS, that's all." Schaefer said this new proposal came after meeting with AIDS activists on Thursday.
Schaefer earlier this month said taxpayers in the state deserve to know the names of all HIV-positive people in Maryland because they are "a danger." In defending his comments, Schaefer later told The Washington Post, "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."
A group of protesters outside the statehouse on Friday likened Schaefer's proposal to Nazi laws that required Jews, gays, and others to wear identifying marks on their clothing. The protesters called for Schaefer's resignation, and for a nationwide boycott of tourism to the state and of all products made in Maryland in the interim. "The people of Maryland should not let this harmful man represent the state," protester Craig Shireman of Laytonsville, Md., told the Sun. Some officials in the state also are calling for Schaefer, an 82-year-old Democrat, to step down. Two weeks ago state delegate John Adams Hurson, who chairs the house health and government operations committee, asked Schaefer to resign. Schaefer has said he plans to run for reelection in 2006.