Donald Trump Dragged On Twitter For Falsely Claiming There’s An AIDS Vaccine

Donald Trump praised the scientists working on developing a COVID-19 vaccine for their past remarkable achievement: the AIDS vaccine. Except... there isn't one. He was dragged by on Twitter for the bizarre gaffe.

Donald Trump
Image Credit: REX/Shutterstock

While swearing to an audience at the White House that there would be a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 “by the end of the year,” President Donald Trump took time to thank the “incredible doctors and scientists” who have developed other medical marvels — like the AIDS vaccine. There is no AIDS vaccine, as many incredulous viewers immediately pointed out on Twitter.

“We’re making tremendous progress. Incredible doctors, scientists — I have great respect for their minds. And they’ve come up with many other cures and therapeutics over the years,” Trump said. “These are the people, the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere, and they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine.”

The president caught himself at the end there, and switched to saying that scientists have developed pills, which is correct. The damage was done, however. They’ve come up with ⁠— or, the AIDS, and, as you know, there’s various things and now various companies are involved, but the therapeutic for AIDS. AIDS was a death sentence, and now people live a life with a pill. It’s an incredible thing,” he finished.

There is no cure for AIDS, or a vaccine, but strict adherence to anti-retroviral therapy by individuals with HIV-1 (the virus that causes AIDS) can prolong life, slow the disease’s progress, and prevent complications. As a sex education teacher wrote on Twitter, “PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a highly effective HIV prevention drug developed with taxpayer funds that costs $8/month in Australia and $2400/month in the USA. The CDC estimates over 1 million Americans need PrEP and can’t afford it.”

What’s extra egregious about Trump’s error is that his administration cut $1.35 billion from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2019, and $392 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He’s made derogatory comments about people with AIDS and HIV in the past, including saying in 2017 that the 15,000 immigrants from Haiti who obtained US visas that year “all have AIDS,” according to The New York Times

Trump’s false claim about the supposed AIDS vaccine comes four days after he revoked health care protections for transgender Americans. The Department of Health and Human Services on June 12 finalized a regulation that will “return to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.” The move came during Pride month, and on the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Florida.

It actually shouldn’t be a shock that Trump has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to healthcare for AIDS patients. Bill Gates revealed in 2018 that Trump asked him twice about the different between HIV and HPV, and wanted to know if there were vaccines for each. The two conversations apparently didn’t stick.

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