Trump’s New HIV/AIDS Initiative is Filled With Empty Promises

In his State of the Union tonight, Donald Trump announced a notable goal to end HIV/AIDS transmissions by 2030. However, the Trump administration has consistently undermined advancements in HIV/AIDS research, attacked people living with HIV/AIDS and sabotaged access to quality health care at every opportunity. Here’s Trump’s real record on HIV/AIDS:


FACT: Trump celebrated a court ruling in favor of a lawsuit he backed to overturn the ACA, endangering coverage for around 130 million people with pre-existing conditions, including HIV/AIDS.


CBS News: Around 130 million people in the United States have pre-existing conditions, and without the ACA, insurers would no longer be required to cover those conditions.


Vox: “To put it simply, the ACA was a ‘watershed moment in the [HIV] epidemic’s history,’ as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s director of global health and HIV policy, Jennifer Kates, told me in 2017. The law was designed to get more people access to health care, including those who were traditionally denied coverage because of ‘preexisting conditions’ like HIV, or who were driven out of the marketplace because their health care was unaffordable. And so under the law, the disease was no longer a barrier to health insurance.”


FACT: The Department of Health and Human Services proposed new rules to eliminate requirements that insurance plans for Medicare beneficiaries cover prescription drugs in “protected classes,” such as HIV/AIDS.


“The Trump administration proposal is bad medicine and dangerous to people living with H.I.V.,” said Carl E. Schmid II, the deputy executive director of the AIDS Institute, a public policy and advocacy organization for patients. “Not all H.I.V. medications are the same. The Medicare Part D program is working well for people with H.I.V., and there is no reason to take these draconian actions.”

FACT: The Department of Health and Human Services redirected money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to help fund the separation of immigrant families.


POZ: “Trump Agency Is Using Federal HIV Funds to Separate Immigrant Families”


FACT: Both of Trump’s budget proposals sought to cut global HIV/AIDS funding by over $1 billion, which could cause 300,000 deaths per year.


Huffington Post: “His 2019 budget proposal would cut $1.2 billion from global HIV programs like PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.”


CBS News: “Trump’s 2018 budget not only slashes PEPFAR by 17 percent—from $4.6 billion to $3.8 billion—it cuts global health programs overall by $2 billion. It also downsizes the National Institute of Health’s National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which funds HIV/AIDS research, by 23 percent.”


The Daily Beast: “Trump’s Budget Cut for HIV/AIDS Would Kill 300,000 People Per Year, Report Says”


FACT: United States Secretary of Health and Human Services  Alex Azar created a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division,” giving health care providers the ability to refuse treatment to LGBTQ people if they have a “moral objection.”

HIV+ Magazine: “In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom under the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). This division was created following a 2017 executive order by President Trump directing agencies to expand religious freedom protections in ways that could increase discrimination against LGBT individuals and same-sex couples.”


CDC: “Gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV in the United States. In 2016, gay and bisexual men accounted for 67% of the 40,324 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas. Approximately 492,000 sexually active gay and bisexual men are at high risk for HIV”


FACT: Vice President Mike Pence, while governor of Indiana, opposed a needle exchange program and exacerbated the local HIV/AIDS crisis.


Politico: “But when confronted with a spiraling HIV outbreak in his home state as a result of opioid addicts sharing contaminated needles, Pence dragged his feet…”


FACT: Trump’s Department of Defense instituted a “Deploy or Get Out” policy, which would remove HIV+ military personnel from service solely because of their status.


Washington Post: “They tested positive for HIV. Then the military kicked them out.”


Sergeant Nick Harrison, an 18-year veteran of both Afghanistan and Kuwait: “This is about every person living with HIV knowing that they can perform any job in the world, including serving in the military […] I look forward to the day that I can serve my country to the full extent of my abilities, based on my performance and unfettered by unfounded fears and misperceptions about HIV.”