President Donald Trump praises ‘tremendous progress’ on HIV cure

President Donald J. Trump

President Donald Trump has celebrated the news that a second person has reportedly been cured of HIV.

The British patient received bone marrow stems from a donor with a rare genetic mutation three years ago, and 18 months after coming off antiretroviral drugs, tests still show no sign of his previous HIV infection, indicating that he has become the second ever person to be cured of HIV.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday (March 5), Trump said: “‘HIV Is Cured In 2nd Patient, Doctors Report.’ @nytimes Such great news for so many. Tremendous progress being made!”

Despite his comments, the HIV breakthrough was not linked to the Trump administration, as research was carried out at institutions including University College London, Imperial College London, Cambridge and Oxford Universities, reports the BBC.

The president has previously stated during a State of the Union speech that he would strive to eliminate HIV/AIDS.

Trump said: “My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.

“Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.”

However, campaigners have expressed their doubts at the promises, especially after the president fired the entire presidential advisory council on HIV/AIDS in 2017.

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty)

Trump fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) after six members resigned in protest of his policies, reports POZ.

However, in December 2018, the Secretary of Department Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, announced that Carl Schmidt, the deputy executive director of The AIDS Institute, and John Wiesman, the secretary of health for Washington state, would be the new co-chairs of PACHA.

Currently, no other new members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have been announced.

“This administration is making decisions that will impact the future of HIV in our country and around the world.”

— PACHA co-chair, Carl Schmidt

In an announcement at the Ryan White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment in December, Azar revealed that PACHA will meet in March 2019.

He said the council “will discuss recommendations regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective prevention, treatment and cure of HIV disease and AIDS.”

In a statement released by The AIDS Institute, new PACHA co-chair Schmidt said: “I look forward to serving in this role in order to advance policies that support people living with or at risk of HIV and work with the administration to advance their efforts to end AIDS.

“This administration is making decisions that will impact the future of HIV in our country and around the world; I believe it is essential that we be at that table.”