US President Donald Trump will announce a plan to end HIV transmissions in the country by 2030 in his upcoming State of the Union address, according to reports.
Four sources told Politico that Trump will outline a ten-year strategy, focusing on communities with higher cases of HIV infections for the first five years and continue to work on reducing transmissions towards the end of 2030.
While the reported address remains unconfirmed, staff within the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) have asked the White House to make certain that the HIV strategy will be included in president’s speech.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV and every year almost 40,000 new cases are being reported.
Two health officials said that roughly 20 states with the most HIV infections will be their main focus during the first half of Trump’s HIV strategy.
The strategy’s ultimate goal is to halt new infections over the next ten years. The plan is reportedly strongly backed up by high-ranking health officials including HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield.
But US LGBTIQ advocates have pointed out the Trump administration’s poor record on HIV prevention.
“If this administration wants to combat the spread of HIV, they need to immediately end their efforts to cut Medicaid funding, undermine the Affordable Care Act and license discrimination against the most at-risk communities when they seek health care,” the Human Rights Campaign’s government affairs director David Stacy said.
“This administration simply cannot achieve this goal while, at the same time, charging forward with attacks on health care for the communities most impacted by HIV.
“The American public deserves a real commitment from their government to end the HIV epidemic.”
GLAAD said Trump’s announcement has already been “undermined by his own Administration’s record and rhetoric.”
“There is no reason for LGBTQ Americans or anyone else to see this as anything more than empty rhetoric designed to distract from what’s really happening behind the scenes every day,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said.
In June 2017, six people resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, explaining in an extraordinary op-ed published by Newsweek that the Trump administration “does not care” about the issue and actively “pushes legislation harming people living with HIV.”
In January last year, Trump fired the rest of the HIV/AIDS advisory panel with no explanation, a move that advocates warned would put the US’ HIV prevention efforts at risk of slipping backward. The panel’s new members weren’t sworn in until late last month.