May 30, 2020

Trump says the US is on track to eradicate AIDS in the next decade

The US president, Donald Trump, said Sunday that his government has already begun the process to eradicate AIDS in the US. Within an decade, an ambitious challenge that some scientists see with skepticism due to the impact on the affected communities of other White House policies.

In two tweets on the occasion of World AIDS Day, which is commemorated every December 1, Trump referred to the promise he made in February to end that disease in his country before 2030.

"Today we reaffirm our commitment to end the HIV / AIDS epidemic in the United States, community by community, where we will end AIDS in ten years, with a program that has already begun. The US leadership has shown that we can save lives," Trump wrote.

During his annual speech on the State of the Union in February, Trump asked Congress to work with him to "eliminate the HIV epidemic within 10 years."

Trump later requested $ 291 million for the initiative in his budget for fiscal year 2020, and the Department of Health said its goal was to reduce new HIV infections by 75% over the next five years and by 90% in the next ten.

In a first phase that will last five years, the program seeks to concentrate resources in 48 counties in the country and in the cities of Washington and San Juan (Puerto Rico), where more than 50% of new HIV diagnoses were registered in 2016 and 2017.

The second phase will try to expand that model nationwide, and in a third stage there will be a "more intensive case management" to try to keep under a number of infections that in 2017 rounded the new 40,000, according to the Department of Health.

Many scientists and experts believe that the goal is achievable, but they fear that Trump's policies towards the most vulnerable groups to HIV infection – the LGBTQ community, African Americans and Latinos and the poorest people – pose an obstacle when it comes to make it happen.

Others warn of the logistical complication and the high cost of finding all people with HIV or high risk of contracting it in the United States and maintaining their medication for many years or for life, something that the scientific community considers essential to eradicate the AIDS in the country.

Trump's cuts to subsidized health insurance for the poor and the elderly – Medicaid and Medicare, respectively – could boycott the target, given that many of those affected access their medication under those programs.

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