Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY
Published 7:41 p.m. ET June 16, 2020 | Updated 2:20 p.m. ET June 17, 2020
Amid Black Lives Matters protests across the country, President Trump signs an executive order that raises the standards for policing across the country.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he believes there will be a vaccine for the coronavirus ready by the end of this year, and incorrectly stated that scientists and doctors developed a vaccine for AIDS, the most advanced stage of HIV.
“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 — or the AIDS, and, as you know, there’s various things and now various companies involved. But the therapeutic for AIDS,” Trump said from the White House Rose Garden.
The president was delivering remarks as he signed an executive order on policing, prompted by weeks of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.
He said that by the end of this year, he predicts there will be a “very successful” vaccine for coronavirus, along with therapeutic medications and a cure. Trump said that even without a vaccine, “it goes away.”
“We’re making tremendous progress. I deal with these incredible scientists, doctors very, very closely. I have great respect for their minds… And they’ve come up with many other cures and therapeutics over the years,” Trump said.
Trump credited the same experts for developing a vaccine for AIDS, also mentioning “the therapeutic for AIDS.”
President Trump: “They’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine.” pic.twitter.com/JF6zCdmPYC
— The Hill (@thehill) June 16, 2020
“AIDS was a death sentence and now people live a life with a pill,” Trump said. “It’s an incredible thing.”
There is no vaccine for AIDS, but there are treatments and preventative measures. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a drug typically taken once daily in pill form with the guidance of a doctor to prevent contracting HIV. There are also antiretroviral therapy medications effective at preventing the virus from progressing in those who are HIV-positive, making it less likely for them to experience symptoms or pass it on to others. HIV is only contracted through contact with certain bodily fluids.
About 38,000 Americans received an HIV diagnosis in 2018, according to CDC data. Nearly 16,000 people who had HIV died that year, the CDC noted, from any cause. In his 2019 State of the Union address, Trump said that he would end HIV transmission by 2030, a task that Kaiser Health News called “doable but daunting.”
Trump also mentioned the Ebola vaccine on Tuesday in predicting a vaccine for the coronavirus by the end of this year. The FDA approved its first Ebola vaccine in December.
What is AIDS?: Frequently asked questions about HIV and AIDS
Some health care and LGBTQ advocates noted that there is no AIDS or HIV vaccine currently available, and that the cost of PrEP can be prohibitive to many.
“FACT CHECK: There is no AIDS vaccine. In fact, PrEP, a drug that’s highly effective in preventing HIV, can be extremely expensive — and the Trump administration’s program that’s supposed to cover the cost for thousands of uninsured people requires out-of-pocket testing fees,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
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