President Trump on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, reiterated his commitment to end the epidemic in America in a decade, saying the program that he announced in February has started. 

“On World AIDS Day, The First Lady and I express our support for those living with HIV/AIDS and mourn the lives lost. We reaffirm our commitment to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America, community by community where we will eradicate AIDS in 10 years, program already started,” he wrote in a tweet.  “American leadership has proven that together we can save lives.”

The president’s remark came after top officials at the Democratic National Committee released a statement claiming that the Trump administration’s policies are turning away from people living with HIV.

“His administration has proposed cutting global HIV-prevention programs and attacked health care services that people living with HIV rely on, including the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood,” said the statement from DNC Chairman Tom Perez, DNC LGBTQ Caucus Chairman Earl Fowlkes and DNC Disability Council Chairman Tony Coelho.

White House spokesman Judd Deere disputed Coelho’s claim, saying that “it’s no surprise” that Democrats attack the president on World AIDS Day.

“It was this President who boldly declared in his 2019 State of the Union Address that we are going to end HIV transmissions in the United States within 10 years—a commitment that when achieved will save LGBT lives across the country,” Deere said in a statement. “It’s no surprise that the DNC would attack this President and ignore the facts on World AIDS Day instead of honoring and remembering those we have lost.”

In February, President Trump said his administration would carry out plans that end the HIV epidemic. In March, it took another step toward fulfilling its goal by requesting $291 million for its initiative in the White House’s annual budget. 

“My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years,” President Trump said in his February State of the Union address. “Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.”

About 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV today and about 15 percent of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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