President Donald Trump plans to use Tuesday night’s State of the Union address to promise an end to the HIV epidemic in America, four individuals with knowledge of the planned remarks told POLITICO.
Under Trump’s 10-year strategy, health officials would target the U.S. communities with the most HIV infections and work to reduce transmissions by 2030. The strategy has been championed by top health officials, including HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield.
The strategy was heavily shaped by Redfield, a prominent AIDS researcher who was tapped to lead the CDC last year. Redfield told an all-hands meeting at the CDC last year that ending AIDS by 2025 was possible with existing public health tools, like more widespread use of condoms.
As I reported in March 2018 when he was appointed, Redfield has a controversial past which includes support for “mandatory HIV testing, reporting of positive HIV results to public health authorities without the patient’s consent, and quarantining of HIV-positive individuals in the military.” He was also investigated for professional misconduct regarding an HIV vaccine trial. As of last year, he remained on the board of a conservative group that advocates for abstinence-based HIV prevention.