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Central PA doctors weigh in on Trump's promise to "defeat AIDS"

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It’s a disease affecting thousands of Pennsylvanians. President Donald Trump is vowing to put an end to HIV/AIDS in the next decade.

"In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach,” said President Trump during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

President Trump vowed to eradicate HIV/AIDS within ten years, saying his budget will ask lawmakers to make a commitment to eliminate the disease.

“I think it’s an excellent goal,” said Dr. Joshua Fleetman with Alder Health Services.

Dr. Joshua Fleetman and his team at Alder Health Services in Harrisburg provides services including HIV testing along with education and prevention, doing their part to put an end to the disease.

“It used to be a life threatening disease, especially in the 80s and the early 90s. There’s much better medications out now... and overall it’s much easier to treat it than it was even 10 years ago,” said Dr. Fleetman.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the President’s plan will focus on four strategies: diagnose, treat, protect and respond. The goal is to reduce new infections by 75% in the next five years and 90% in the next ten years.

“Approximately 165,000 Americans don’t know they have the disease so first we need to find out who has it so that we can treat them,” said Dr. Fleetman.

The PA Department of Health says since 1980 more than 61,000 Pennsylvanians have been diagnosed with HIV. In 2017 966 cases of HIV were reported in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Fleetman thinks the President’s plan to put an end to the disease is feasible.

“There are doctors in the area, there’s infectious diseases doctors, there’s primary care doctors and the goal is if we can screen we can treat,” said Dr. Fleetman.

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