Presumptive Democratic presidential
nominee Joe Biden has vowed to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in five
years if elected in the fall.
Biden laid out this goal in a 20-page
questionnaire submitted to a coalition of HIV/AIDS groups in
Bolstering the Affordable Care Act
(also known as Obamacare) is a primary component of the candidate's
“As president, I will re-commit to
ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025,” Biden said. “Updating the
nation's comprehensive HIV/AIDS strategy will aggressively reduce new
HIV cases, while increasing access to treatment and eliminating
inequitable access to services and supports.”
President Donald Trump envisions ending
the epidemic in 10 years. The administration's “Ending the HIV
Epidemic” initiative relies heavily on PrEP, the once-daily pill
that when taken as directed can block transmission of the virus.
PrEP's side effects and high cost have sidelined the drug. Drugmaker
Gilead recently released a new PrEP drug, Descovy, with fewer side
HIV activists questioned Biden's
aggressive timeline to ending the HIV epidemic.
“I would say no,” Carl Schmid,
co-chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and
executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, answered
when asked by the
Blade whether Biden's 5-year plan would work.
Asia Russell, executive director of
Health GAP, said neither plan was credible.
“The global AIDS crisis is one of the
greatest preventable public health disasters in history,” Russell
said. “Science has shown us how to finally defeat HIV in the U.S.
and abroad. But neither candidate has adopted a plan the world needs
to show that he is the president who can end AIDS once and for all.”
Russell criticized Biden for supporting
“the need for intellectual property barriers to be broken in favor
of COVID-19 vaccine access for all” but not for HIV treatments.
“[H]is silence on the need to
massively scale up investment in treatment to defeat a leading cause
of preventable death and suffering worldwide is cruel – it speaks
volumes,” Russell told the Blade.