The Salt Lake City-County Health Department needs to prepare a method to restrain AIDS carries, whether by quarantine or some other means, who knowingly continue to infect others, the Board of Health was told Thursday.
In other AIDS-related actions, the board was told that the department will ask the state classify the virus that causes AIDS as reportable sexually transmited disease along with chlamydia and herpes. The only reason they aren't classified that way, he said, is that it's been a long time since reclassification was done.
And because of the large number of requests for AIDS programs in schools, the department is asking local school districts to fund a full-time AIDS educator.
Dr. Harry L. Gibbons, health director, said health officials must expect cases of people who willfully continue to spread the AIDS virus. One patient, known as Patient Zero, knowingly infected hundreds, maybe thousands, of people despite the fact that he had been treated at several hopitals. "He still insisted on his sexual practices, and no one was able to legally restrain him from that."
Another concern is infected prostitutes who continue to ply their trade.
As a public health agency, he said, "if we know of something going like that we have the responsibility to do something about it." Gibbons has suggested that a part of the county's new minimum security facility be set aside as a treatment area.
Tom Christensen of the Salt Lake County attorney's office said quarantine should be a last resort. Because of constitutional problems, he said, the person to be quarantined would have to be represented by counsel, and the legal proceedigns could be complicated.
"We do not oppose quarantine for psychopaths," said Michele PixlerParish of the Amercian Civil Liberties Union. But she said people may pass on AIDS in casual relationships with no intent to kill. And no case of AIDS has been traced to sexual contatct with a prostitute, she said.
Gibbons said the department has been receiving numerous requests from schools to present AIDS programs. "We're doing what we can, but we're simply overworked."
He has asked the four Salt Lake area school districts to fund, on a population basis, an AIDS educator full-time in the health department. Jordan has already told him they can't afford it.
He said that in some cases, schools have called in speakers not connected with the health department who have been overly explicit and offended the audience they are supposed to teach.