Over the past couple of months, President Trump has made a few promises to the public regarding healthcare. Just this past December, he promised to protect pre-existing conditions, and now during his State of the Union Address, he pledges to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. His plan is to reduce new HIV infection by 75% in the next five years, and almost by 90% in ten years. Is it possible? And just how does he plan to do it?
HIV Numbers At A Standstill
According to data collected by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2010 and 2016, the overall number of HIV infections was dropping. The report indicated that HIV was higher among people aged between 25 -34, but lower among people aged 13-24 and 45-54. The number of women getting infected decreased but remained stable among men. In 2016, over half of those infected with HIV were males.
Although the numbers were declining for several years, it seems that the decline in annual HIV infections has stopped. After five years, it began to level off in 2013 at about 39,000 infections per year. The reason for the stall in numbers is simple, funding. People who could benefit most from HIV prevention and treatment are not able to retrieve it.
Trump’s proposed budget for 2020 includes almost $300 million towards his campaign to end HIV. “In recent years, we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach,” Trump said in the address.”My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.”
In 2001, President Bush made the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. In 2003, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was created. Because of these two programs, there have been half as many deaths. Trump plans to fund programs in geographic places where HIV infections are high. With the data collected, they will expand HIV prevention and treatment. With the upcoming programs alongside the Global Fund, and PEPFAR, many are hoping to see a significant decrease in HIV infections.
Heather Bradley, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health, conducted research on HIV observation. She estimates that although Trump claims a 90% decrease by 2030, it will more realistically be a 67% reduction. She did say that 90% can be achieved, but it will take a lot of government resources to make it happen.