Trump Praises Scientists, Doctors For An AIDS Vaccine That Doesn’t Exist

TOPLINE

President Donald Trump incorrectly suggested that scientists and doctors had developed an AIDS vaccine before appearing to correct himself during a press conference on police reform that took a detour when the president flaunted the progress being made into finding a vaccine for Covid-19.

President Trump Signs Executive Order On ″Safe Policing For Safe Communities″
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event [+] GETTY IMAGES

KEY FACTS

Trump told reporters that the American scientists and doctors working on a Covid-19 vaccine are making “tremendous progress,” and are some of the “best,” “smartest,” and “most brilliant,” before mentioning that they have come up with other cures in the past, like a vaccine for AIDS.

Trump may have realized he misspoke, as immediately after he praised the AIDS vaccine he mentioned “AIDS therapeutic[s]” and a daily pill taken by people with AIDS, an apparent reference to a variety of antiviral treatments available to people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

HIV and AIDS was once seen as a death sentence but thanks to medical breakthroughs in the early 1990s, people who test positive for HIV now have life spans comparable to people without HIV with the use of medication.

His comments spread like fire on social media, with the topic trending on Twitter and drawing widespread derision online. 

CRUCIAL QUOTE 

“I deal with these incredible scientists [and] doctors very, very closely. I have great respect for their minds and they have come up with things. They’ve come up with many other cures, and therapeutics over the years. These are the… best, the smartest, most brilliant anywhere. And they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine… or the AIDS.. as you know, there’s various things and now various companies are involved… but the therapeutic for AIDS… AIDS was a death sentence, and now people live a life with a pill. It’s an incredible thing,” Trump told reporters at Tuesday’s press conference. 

KEY BACKGROUND

According to government estimates, about 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. Between the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980’s and 2016, about 675,000 people with AIDS have died in the U.S., according to the CDC. Nearly 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the United States in 2018.

(FORBES)

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