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Applause, with some raised eyebrows, for Trump’s pledge to end AIDS in the United States by 2030

Applause, with some raised eyebrows, for Trump’s pledge to end AIDS in the United States by 2030
Science
A major challenge to ending AIDS in the United Statesis reaching the many HIV-infected immigrants who dont get testing or treatment. This clinic in Miami, Floridas Little Haiti neighborhood caters to HIV-infected clients who speak Creole.

Misha Friedman

When news leaked yesterday that U.S. President Donald Trumps State of the Union address tonight would include a call for ramping up efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States by 2030, many advocacy groups quickly weighed in with guffaws. The nonprofitin New York City, under the rubric know your scumbags, published a list of how it says the Trump administration has further marginalized people living with HIV. The president of GLAAD, which bills itself as the worlds largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning media advocacy group, issued a statement that said the planned announcement was undermined by the Administrations record and rhetoric on health issues, and was designed todistract from whats really happening behind the scenes every day.

But many HIV/AIDS researchers and even some leading advocates had a more measured, and even enthusiastic, reaction to the possibility that Trump wants to join an existing ambitious campaign famously endorsed on World AIDS Day in 2011 by thenSecretary of State Hillary Clintonand position his administration as a champion of a cause that he thus far has not embraced.

Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond, Trump said in his speech tonight. My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. He did not specify how much money he will request or whether it will come from existing programs or new appropriations. (Shortly after the speech, the Department of Health and Human Servicesthe White House is expected to release its annual budget request to Congress on 11 March.)

Im really excited that this may lead to something, Carlos del Rio, an epidemiologist and leading HIV/AIDS clinician based at Emory Universitys Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta told

Science

Insider prior to the speech. Its the last thing I would have expected coming out of Trump, Del Riosays. But he noted that former PresidentGeorge W. Bush made a surprise announcement in his 2003 State of the Union speech that he wanted to launch a massive HIV/AIDS international assistance program, the President s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). You never know what these guys are going to do, Del Rio says.

Trumps proposal calls for concentrating the governments efforts for 5 years on the places in the United States with the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses, according to Politico, which broke the story about the announcements inclusion in the speech. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2016, 46 counties in 19 states account for about half of the nearly 40,000 new HIV diagnoses in thecountry (see map, below). About 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.

The new push to end AIDS calls for more intensive efforts in counties that have the most infected people (dark blue) and the most new diagnoses.
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