Trump's call to end HIV epidemic hindered by his administration's policies

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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address, alongside Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on February 5, 2019. More than one million Americans live with the disease.

The details around funding for the president's ending the epidemic plan are still murky, but the overall shape of what the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal agencies are planning has already started coming into focus.

"The administration's plan will deploy the people and key prevention and treatment strategies needed to reduce new HIV infections by 75 percent over the next 5 years, with the hope of a 90 percent reduction within 10 years", Redfield said. Through the plan announced Wednesday, the Ryan White program will increase its capacity to provide HIV care and treatment for people newly diagnosed with HIV and those living with HIV who are not now retained in care, as well as work with program recipients to expand evidence-based interventions for maintaining care and viral suppression. Indeed, most of the seven states that HHS will target with resources to reduce their high rate of HIV infections haven't expanded Medicaid, according to Jesse Milan Jr., CEO of the advocacy organization AIDS United.

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Briefing reporters ahead of Trump's State of the Union speech, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and senior public health officials said the campaign relies on fresh insights into where about half of new HIV cases occur - 48 out of some 3,000 USA counties, and Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and seven states with at-risk rural residents.

Dr Anthony Fauci directs the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has always been on the forefront of the fight against HIV/Aids.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Worldwide, three million people 19 years old or younger are infected with HIV.

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Client Coordinator Abby Silverman says the fact Orlando has been designated by the HHS plan as one of forty-eight counties that are "hot-spots" for new HIV cases should equate to more funding for the program. "You have to be strong in order to endure the pain, the frustration, the confusion". Today, there are over 1.1 million people living with HIV and almost 40,000 new diagnoses each year. Medicaid is the single-largest source of insurance for HIV care services, covering more than 40% of people with HIV, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. He agreed that the elimination of new cases of HIV infection by 2030 is possible - given certain conditions. The black community accounted for 43 percent of all HIV diagnoses in the US despite making up 13 percent of the USA population. However, with new HIV infections being clustered in a limited number of counties, proven strategies to detect and bring people into care, effective antiretroviral therapy, prevention strategies with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and supportive programs such as the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the country is in a position to reawaken the fight against HIV, he said. The Act addresses discrimination against People Living with HIV at workplace, education setting, health setting and public places, they added.

Mustanski believes that any plan aimed at eradicating HIV transmission within a decade must make PrEP available to these underserved communities.

"It sounds very much like teleprompter Trump saying words but not being invested in the statement itself", said Scott Schoettes, counsel and HIV project director for Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization focused on the LGBT community.

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