NPR

What It Will Take For Trump To End AIDS 'Beyond' America

The president's State of the Union address made a bold pledge. But his 2019 budget proposal calls for massive cuts to foreign assistance programs that address AIDS.
A staffer at the Right to Care AIDS clinic in Johannesburg administers an HIV test on a young boy. South Africa is one of the countries that receives funds from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Source: Gallo Images

When President Trump gave his State of the Union address last week, he made an ambitious promise to "eliminate the H.I.V. epidemic in the United States within 10 years." The announcement was followed by a blueprint from the Department of Health and Human Services that details the administration's plan to concentrate funding for treatment and preventative medicine in a few dozen counties nationwide with the highest rates of infection. Public health experts generally applauded the plan as achievable with existing tools and techniques.

The announcement also contained a second, less-noticed promise: To defeat AIDS "beyond" the U.S. But the president's own record on addressing the virus in other countries has been inconsistent.

In December, Trump signed a bill reauthorizing the President's Emergency Plan for, a flagship foreign assistance program that was initiated in 2003 by President George W. Bush and has grown to be one of the biggest and most successful public health interventions in history, around the world.

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