Trump Plan To End HIV Spread By 2030 Faces Obstacles : Shots - Health News The Trump administration has a plan to end the spread of HIV in the U.S. in 10 years. HIV/AIDS advocates say it's feasible but that the administration's actions on health run counter to the goal.
NPR logo

Halting U.S. HIV Epidemic By 2030: Difficult But Doable

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/691934890/692116034" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Halting U.S. HIV Epidemic By 2030: Difficult But Doable

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Last night President Trump announced a plan to end HIV transmission within 10 years. Today his administration shared details on how it hopes to get there. Here's NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin.

SELENA SIMMONS-DUFFIN, BYLINE: There's wide consensus among experts that stopping HIV by 2030 is doable, and this plan hits many of the right notes to get there. It focuses in on so-called hotspots where most new infections are happening and the demographic groups at highest risk of getting infected.

ROBERT REDFIELD: Particularly in African-American and Latino gay and bisexual men, transgender individuals, women of color and people living in the South.

SIMMONS-DUFFIN: That's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield on a call with reporters today.

REDFIELD: We have the tools to end the epidemic, but we have to apply them.

SIMMONS-DUFFIN: Those tools include diagnosing HIV early and getting people on treatment because people with HIV who are getting effective treatment are much less likely to spread the infection - and promoting prevention efforts - condom use, clean syringes and a pill for people who are at risk but not yet infected called PrEP. These are not new ideas, but officials today say the interagency push is new. They say HIV infections have plateaued around 40,000 a year nationwide, and they're hoping this plan will turn things around. Redfield from the CDC has worked on HIV for decades.

REDFIELD: It's important to believe and see the possible. I'm personally thrilled about this initiative, a plan for America to end HIV.

SIMMONS-DUFFIN: The goal does stand in contrast to some of the other moves by the Trump administration over the last two years, and that contrast had some HIV researchers and advocates feeling skeptical. Dr. Michelle Collins Ogle is one of them. She treats HIV patients in rural North Carolina.

MICHELLE COLLINS OGLE: When you tell people that are in our trans community that you aren't worthy of serving in the military, you are not interested in trying to end AIDS. When you do everything you can to make health care more difficult for lower-income people to access, then you can't be serious about ending Aids in 2030.

SIMMONS-DUFFIN: Ogle used to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, but she and five others resigned in protest in 2017. At the time, they said they were convinced President Trump didn't care about the issue at all. And today...

OGLE: I don't feel any different.

SIMMONS-DUFFIN: Others are more optimistic. Greg Millett from the Foundation for AIDS Research says he trusts the people who are leading the charge.

GREG MILLETT: These are officials within the Trump administration who have always been committed to public health. They've been committed to science. Let's work with the administration to make this a success.

SIMMONS-DUFFIN: The big question hanging over all of this is, what about the money? A plan this grand will easily cost billions of dollars. Officials from HHS today said they were confident there would be new, adequate funding for this plan in the 2020 budget but wouldn't go into specifics. One reason they might be optimistic Congress will give them what's needed is speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She represents San Francisco and has been an advocate on HIV for her whole career. She even spoke about the AIDS crisis in her first speech on the floor of the House in 1987. Today in a statement, she called President Trump's plan, quote, "interesting." Selena Simmons-Duffin, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.