President Donald Trump promised voters at a Cincinnati campaign rally on Thursday night that he would cure AIDS and pediatric cancer. 

“We will be ending the AIDS epidemic shortly in America, and curing childhood cancer very shortly,” Trump claimed. 

This is not the first time the president has made such a promise. The claim originated in his 2019 State of the Union Address, where he said he would allocate $500 million for research in pediatric cancer over the next 10 years.

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The rate of cure for pediatric cancer is currently at 80%. According to Kaiser Health News that rate is due to the excellent progress in studies of childhood leukemia. Unfortunately, in terms of other pediatric cancers they rates have remained the same for the past 20 years. 

The National Institutes of Health estimates its 2019 spending in this area to be $462 million – meaning that the $500 millions is only a relatively small increase.

During President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union in 2016, he proposed a $1 billion in an initiative dubbed “Cancer Moonshot,” which placed Vice President Joe Biden in charge of.  In December of that year, Congress passed a bill that put almost $2 billion into the “Moonshot,” which would be dispersed over a seven year period. 

Cancerhealth.com stated that the president’s 2020 budget would cut important funding for  cancer research, but the $500 million was, however, still in the budget.

Trump’s call to cure AIDS was also part of his State of the Union.

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This has always been the goal for researchers of the disease, but Kaiser said that even with important progress made with drug therapies and diseases overall understanding “it is not an easy undertaking.”

Doctors like Kenneth Mayer, who is the medical research director at the Boston LGBT health center, noted that there are more factors involved with the disease than just medication. “There are a lot of social, structural, individual behavioral factors that may impact why people become infected, may impact if people who are infected engage in care and may impact or affect people who are at high risk of HIV,” he said.