Elton John has jumped into the American culture wars in response to comments from a Georgia state representative suggesting a quarantine might be necessary to stem the spread of HIV, Politico reports. In a statement released by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the legendary British singer-songwriter lashed out at Rep. Betty Price, a former anesthesiologist, for asking at a study committee meeting last week if there are “any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the spread” of HIV. "I don’t want to say the 'quarantine' word, but I guess I just said it,” Price said. John replied, "As a doctor and elected official from a state where people are still contracting HIV at an alarming rate, Mrs. Price should know better than to demonize people and perpetuate myths that stigmatize people living with HIV."
Price's comments upset more than just John, and she was forced to walk back them back. "I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients," she said Saturday. "I do, however, wish to light a fire under all of us with responsibility in the public health arena." That was apparently not enough for John, who wrote in his statement Monday that Price's words "smack of a dark time when there was little or no information about HIV and people were afraid of each other. Today, thanks to scientific advancements, growing acceptance and love, people living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives," the Hill reports. Last month, Price's husband, Tom, resigned from his position at the Department of Health and Human Services after reports appeared of his using tax-payer-funded private jets for government travel.