Trump Falsely Claims We Have An AIDS Vaccine

by Gina Vaynshteyn
Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden
Alex Wong/Getty

In a recent press conference, Trump falsely tells the nation that an AIDS vaccine exists

Today, during a press conference, Trump took the stage and told the audience that he predicts that by the end of the year, the country will have a very “successful vaccine, therapeutic, and cure” (for COVID-19). He goes on to say that he’s been “very closely” working with great scientists who have come up with “things.” For some reason, this is when Trump decides to discuss the many medical breakthroughs we’ve made over the years, like the “AIDS vaccine.”

“We’re making tremendous progress. I deal with these incredible scientists, doctors, very, very closely. I have great respect for their minds. And they have come up with things. And they’ve come up with many other cures and therapeutics over the years… 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 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.”

Okay, so the thing is: We don’t have an AIDS vaccine. We don’t have a cure, but we do have highly effective treatments and medications that fight HIV and help keep the body’s immune system healthy, so that the body is equipped to combat serious complications that come with HIV. According to UCSF Health, “At this time, there is no cure for AIDS, but medications are effective in fighting HIV and its complications. Treatments are designed to reduce HIV in your body, keep your immune system as healthy as possible and decrease the complications you may develop.”

In terms of AIDS medication, UCSF Health states, “Although there is no cure for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), medications have been highly effective in fighting HIV and its complications. Drug treatments help reduce the HIV virus in your body, keep your immune system as healthy as possible and decrease the complications you may develop.”

Many have taken to Twitter to point out Trump’s blatant lie, including Eugene Gu, MD, who describes the drugs we *do* have in order to combat HIV and AIDS. This is very, very different than having a “vaccine.”

Although this wouldn’t be the first time Trump has fabricated statistics and spread lethal misinformation about science and medical advancements (let’s not forget when he claimed that it could be possible for COVID-19 patients to be cured with an injection of disinfectant and UV light and heat), many continue to be in awe that the president keeps making these kinds of wild claims — especially when so many folks in the U.S. live with HIV. According to, 1.1 million U.S. citizens live with HIV today. Between the 1980s and 2016, 675,000 who were tested positive for AIDS died, according to the CDC. In 2018, at least 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. alone. For Trump to claim that there is an AIDS vaccine is irresponsible and ignorant.

The White House has yet to make a comment about Trump’s egregious error. Let this be another reminder for us all: Trump’s disregard for science is baffling — but it’s also incredibly dangerous. Remember this as you prepare to vote in November.