ANNAPOLIS, SEPT. 1 -- The chairman of Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer's advisory council on AIDS said today he opposes mandatory testing for the disease, despite Schaefer's contention this week that new state employes should be tested for the AIDS virus.
"As a general rule, I don't support mandatory testing" except for blood and organ donors, said Edward Brandt Jr., chancellor of the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Besides constitutional questions of privacy, Brandt said, he was not sure what the state would do with the results of the test or how to deal with those who refused to take it.
Schaefer apparently is not sure about the answers to those questions either. Schaefer spokesman Bob Douglas said today that Schaefer was not advocating a new state policy or testing program when he made the remarks about AIDS testing to a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.
Douglas said the governor made the comments "in his typical fashion of thinking aloud and honestly."
"I would support the testing of new state employes," the newspaper quoted Schaefer as saying in its Tuesday editions. "I think I have some obligation to state employes. I think somewhere people must know the governor is very, very concerned."
Schaefer also said that although he had not completely thought out the issue, he intended to ask the Maryland attorney general whether the state could compel job applicants to be tested and whether the state could deny employment to people who test positive for the acquired immune deficiency syndrome virus.
"He was not making policy," Douglas said, but rather the governor was expressing "what his thoughts are at the moment."
Douglas said Schaefer was "framing the debate" for what the state's policy on AIDS should be and that his remarks reflect the fact that "he is impatient for a state policy to develop" more than they represent a "solution" that he was offering.
Brandt, addressing the House Appropriations Committee, emphasized that his views on AIDS testing were his own and that the advisory council will address the issue this month.
Del. Howard P. Rawlings (D-Baltimore) took exception to Schaefer's comments and asked Brandt if he had advised Schaefer on the testing issue.
When Brandt replied that he had not, Rawlings said, "So this was a brainstorm on the part of the governor?"
He added that he thought it inappropriate for Schaefer to be "blurting out policy statements on AIDS."
"I knew I was going to stir everybody up," Douglas quoted the governor as saying today.