At a press conference in the White House Rose Garden yesterday, Mr Trump said; “These are the people – the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere, and they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine. They’ve come up with … various things.”
However, there has never been a vaccine or cure for AIDS. HIV is now a manageable chronic condition for many patients thanks to powerful medicines, and certain anti-HIV drugs taken each day can dramatically reduce risks of infection.
But despite 1.7 million global HIV infections in 2018, with nearly 38,000 in the US alone, there is “no vaccine available that will prevent HIV infection or treat those who have it,” according to the U.S. Health & Human Services Department.
Mr Trump may have been trying to correct his himself when he added that science has “various things” for AIDS.
“As you know, there’s various things and now various companies are involved, but the therapeutic for AIDS,” he said. “AIDS was a death sentence. Now people will live a life with a pill. It’s an incredible thing.”
Mr Trump also predicted that before the end of the year there would be a “very successful vaccine, therapeutic, and cure,” for Covid-19.
The US President said he deals with “incredible” scientists and doctors “very very closely”, and has “a great deal of respect for their minds”, before making the incorrect AIDS vaccine claim, which medical experts were quick to debunk on Twitter.
Mr Trump made these comments at the White House while signing an executive order encouraging better law enforcement practices. He also claimed former President Barack Obama “never even tried” to stop abusive policing – despite conspicuous policies by the Obama administration aimed at police reform.