The new CDC director predicted Thursday that the AIDS epidemic could end in the United States within the next three to seven years.
“Ending the AIDS epidemic in America? It’s possible. I think it could be done in the next three to seven years, if we put our mind to it,” Dr. Robert Redfield told CDC employees Thursday during a staff meeting, according to The Associated Press.
The U.S. already has the tools necessary to end the epidemic, Redfield said, including condoms and antiviral drugs that can prevent infection.
Redfield began his new job Monday, replacing former CDC director Brenda FitzgeraldBrenda FitzgeraldOvernight Health Care: FDA says millions of J&J doses from troubled plant must be thrown out | WHO warns Africa falling far behind in vaccinations | Top CDC official says US not ready for next pandemic Top CDC official warns US not ready for next pandemic The hollowing out of the CDC MORE, who resigned in late January following reports that she purchased stock in tobacco companies.
He joins the agency as the country battles the opioid epidemic, describing it as the "public health crisis of our time" and vowing to work to bring it "to its knees."
Redfield also affirmed his commitment to science- and evidence-based policy, following the CDC's "seven banned words" controversy last year.
Under Fitzgerald, CDC employees were reportedly advised against using words like "evidence-based" and "science-based," prompting backlash from public health experts and advocates.
“We’re not an opinion organization. We’re a science-based, data-driven organization. That’s why CDC has the credibility around the world that it has,” he said, according to Stat News.
Redfield previously worked in the Department of Retroviral Research within the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and served in the Army Medical Corps for 20 years before retiring.
He also served as a member of the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS from 2005 to 2009 and co-founded the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology.