Trump uses ‘AIDS vaccine’ as proof scientists can develop COVID-19 vaccine

President Trump touted the development of an “AIDS vaccine” on Tuesday as he predicted that scientists will create a vaccine for the coronavirus by the end of the year. 

An AIDS vaccine does not yet exist. 

“These are the people — the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere,” Trump said Tuesday during signing of an executive order on policing. 

“And they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine. They’ve come up with — or the AIDS. And they — 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 added. 

Trump appeared to be referencing PrEP, an HIV/AIDS prevention method that uses drugs taken regularly to reduce transmission of the disease.  

He also cited the Ebola vaccine during his speech, predicting a coronavirus vaccine will be available by the end of the year. 

“These are the people that have done it, or these are the people that have been around it, and they’re all competing. It’s an incredible thing. All of these brilliant firms, labs, companies are competing. And I will tell you, we’re very far advanced. We’ve already started tests and trials,” Trump said. 

People were quick to call out Trump’s false statement on Twitter, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) who responded to Trump’s comments with a “FACT CHECK” and noted that PrEP “can be extremely expensive.” 

“FACT CHECK: There is no AIDS vaccine,” Jayapal tweeted.

“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,” she added.

Eugene Gu, CEO of Cool Quit, said Trump’s remarks about an AIDS vaccine are “dangerous” and could cause confusion, as PrEP needs to be taken regularly as directed by a doctor. 

“For these HIV PrEP drugs to work correctly, you must take them regularly as directed by your doctor. That’s why Trump’s remarks about an AIDS vaccine is so dangerous. As a physician, I’m worried that some patients may get the wrong impression that HIV PrEP is a one-time vaccine,” Gu said in a series of tweets. 

He also noted the high cost of PrEP as a reason Trump’s comments are dangerous, saying that some patients low on funds may decide to take only one dose “hoping that works like a vaccine because they can’t afford more.” 

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump HIV vaccine Pramila Jayapal Prevention of HIV/AIDS Vaccine

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