President Donald Trump on Tuesday falsely suggested that scientists have developed a vaccine for AIDS, the late stage of HIV infection in which the virus has severely damaged a person’s immune system.
“They’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine,” Trump said during a press conference on police reform, referring to scientists. “As you know, there’s various things, and now various companies are involved.”
Pres. Trump: 'These are the people, the best, the smartest … And they've come up with the AIDS vaccine'
There is no AIDS vaccine pic.twitter.com/WJRPiLs6lx
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 16, 2020
Trump later appeared to backtrack his earlier remarks, saying, “AIDS was a death sentence, and now people live a life with a pill. It’s an incredible thing.”
As CNBC notes, it’s possible the president was referring to “daily antiretroviral drugs, which have proved very effective in controlling HIV, a disease that was considered a death sentence nearly 40 years ago. Left unchecked, the virus progresses into AIDS, an advanced form of the disease. People at risk of HIV can also now take prevention medication, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. PrEP can reduce the risk of infection by at least 74% in people who take the drug consistently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
Roughly 1.1 million people in the U.S. are currently living with HIV, and nearly 40,000 Americans become infected with the virus each year, according to the CDC.
Last year, Trump pledged to end the HIV epidemic in the United States “shortly” while also promising his supporters that he was on the verge of announcing a cure for childhood cancer.
“The things we’re doing in our country today, there’s never been anything like it,” Trump told his thousands of supporters at a campaign rally in Ohio last year.
“We will be ending the AIDS epidemic shortly in America, and curing childhood cancer very shortly,” he claimed.
Trump just promised to cure cancer. Yes, really. pic.twitter.com/K8lKOI2WoD
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 2, 2019