President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address on Tuesday to call for a bipartisan commitment to eradicate AIDS in the United States within a decade.
“Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach,” Trump said in his annual address to Congress.
“My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years,” he said.
“Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond.”
Some 38,000 people were infected with HIV in the United States in 2017, according to government statistics.
This number has shrunk over the years, but in some communities there has been no let-up, especially among gays, blacks and Hispanics.
The Trump administration proposed last year to cut the budget for AIDS prevention, but Congress refused.
“No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom,” Trump said.
“In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”
Trump’s mastery of the issue has been called into question, however, most notably by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who said last year that at two meetings, Trump needed help distinguishing HIV from HPV, another sexually transmitted disease.
“Both times, he wanted to know if there was a difference between HIV and HPV so I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other,” Gates said.