Subscribe for 99¢
AP FACT CHECK: Trump claims he's vindicated in Russia probe

In this Feb. 5, 2019 photo, President Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look on. In Trump's estimation, the good times began to roll for the country on the night he was elected. So he doesn't hesitate to swipe job growth from the twilight of the Obama administration and claim it as his own. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump lauded scientific breakthroughs that have the possibility of making HIV/AIDS a disease of the past, and proclaimed, “Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond."

If the president is serious about fighting this worldwide scourge, he will instruct Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to support robust funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund is a public/private partnership created in 2002 to bring an end to AIDS (as well as TB and malaria) as a global epidemic. Through support of local programs, it saved 27 million lives by the end of 2017.

Thanks to the Global Fund, AIDS-related deaths and new infections have been cut in half, and 17.5 million people with HIV/AIDS are now on antiretroviral therapy. In 2017, 696,000 women were provided with treatment to prevent the spread of this disease to their babies.

The U.S. government in past years has been a key supporter of the Global Fund. Its successes led a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives, including Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., to recently sign a letter to Pompeo expressing support for the Global Fund.

Unfortunately, in the past two years, the Trump administration has proposed drastic cuts to global AIDS programs. If the president meant what he said in his State of the Union, he will advocate for full funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Greg Campbell  •  Creve Coeur