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Donald Trump pledges to end HIV/Aids epidemic in America in State of Union speech

Since his election, the president has dissolved the Office of National Aids Policy and dismissed the whole Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/Aids

By Steve Brown

Donald Trump has made a pledge to end the HIV/Aids epidemic in America during the State of the Union speech.

During his first two years in office, the president has dissolved the Office of National Aids Policy and dismissed the whole Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/Aids back in 2017 and not to mention introduced the ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

But on Tuesday (January 5), the president pledged to boost funding to help eradicate HIV in America.

He said: “No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom.

“In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach.

“My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.

“Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.”

Despite pledging to support funding for HIV treatment, Trump failed to mention the need to reach out to minority communities.

However, a plan released by the Department of Health and Human Services states: “New infections are highly concentrated among men having sex with men; minorities, especially African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians and Alaska Natives; and those who live in the southern United States.”

But LGBT+ activists were sceptical about the president’s pledge and Asia Russell of HIV charity Health GAP said: “This pledge must be contrasted with the hard facts.

“As President Trump’s policies have fanned the flames of the HIV epidemic in the United States and around the world—from working to cut life-saving HIV treatment and prevention funding for the global AIDS response, to undermining Medicaid expansion to promoting homophobia, and obstructing efforts to slash the price of medicines.”

Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD added: “President Trump once again presented a broad strokes narrative that people with HIV and AIDS, including LGBTQ Americans, simply can’t trust.

“Before tonight’s address, Trump has slashed funding for HIV and AIDS research, shuttered research clinics, and fired the White House Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS – stalling the hard-fought effort to find a cure.

“The only way our world could end HIV transmissions and prioritise proper treatment and prevention is through an exhaustive, across-the-board investment, but President Trump’s words do not back up his administration’s actions. “

Speaker Nancy Pelosi added: “The President’s call for ending HIV transmission in America is interesting, but if he is serious about ending the HIV/AIDS crisis, he must end his assault on health care and the dignity of the LGBTQ community.”