March 29, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

State health department addresses concerns with Substitute for House Bill 2183

TOPEKA, Kan.—Contrary to recent media coverage, no version of Kansas Substitute House Bill 2183 would have ever allowed for isolation of persons infected with or quarantine of persons exposed to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

“There has been a great deal of concern in recent days about Kansas Substitute House Bill 2183, which is supported by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and is under current consideration by the Kansas Legislature. Much of the recent media coverage has been based on the false premise that, if enacted, the bill would allow for isolation of persons infected with or quarantine of persons exposed to HIV,” stated Charles Hunt, State Epidemiologist. “It is not and never was the state’s intent to seek the authority for isolation or quarantine of persons related to HIV.”

KDHE has consistently stated that isolation and quarantine actions would not be allowable for HIV based on the enactment of this bill.

This bill is about occupational safety and health, and the original version of the bill was introduced on behalf of emergency medical services workers to address gaps in current law regarding exposures to HIV and other infectious diseases. The substitute bill – which has been the source of the public controversy – was introduced as a simpler and more streamlined approach to accomplish the objectives of the original bill. It will provide KDHE the authority to address many of the details in the original bill in administrative regulations instead.

“The law requires isolation and quarantine be based on what is reasonable and medically necessary, and neither of those thresholds are met with respect to HIV,” Hunt said.

Hunt’s testimony to the House Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, as well as his open letter from March 21, can be found on KDHE’s website at the following link: