President Donald Trump is expected to
announce a plan during his State of the Union address to end HIV
transmissions by 2030.
Major outlets such as The
New York Times reported that the plan would target the U.S.
communities with the highest HIV infections. HHS Secretary Alex Azar
and CDC Director Robert Redfield have reportedly championed the plan.
According to the CDC, about 40,000
people in the United States are infected with the virus that can lead
to AIDS if untreated every year.
The news comes on the heels of a
similar pledge from the UK government.
“So today, we're setting a new goal:
eradicating HIV transmission in England by 2030,” said UK Health
Secretary Matt Hancock, “no new infections within the next decade,
becoming one of the first countries to reach the UN zero infections
target by 2030.”
LGBT groups reacted to the news with
skepticism, noting the Trump administration's record on HIV and AIDS.
“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 healthcare,” said David Stacy, director of government affairs
at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). “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.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of
GLAAD, had harsher words for the administration, calling the
president's plan “empty rhetoric.”
“Unfortunately, President Trump’s
announcement has already been undermined by his own administration’s
record and rhetoric, and 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,” Ellis said.
Without explanation, Trump last year
fired his HIV/AIDS advisory panel. New members were not sworn in
until last week. The administration has repeatedly sought to cut
funding for PEPFAR, which has been credited with saving millions of
lives around the world, particularly in Africa.