President Trump pledges to end HIV epidemic, fight childhood cancer

(Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP/FOX 10) -- During his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Donald Trump said his budget will ask lawmakers to make a commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the U.S. within 10 years, as well as asking for money to fight childhood cancer.

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

According to data from the CDC from 2008 to 2015, instances of HIV diagnoses have decreased, from 48,213 in 2008 to 39,741 in 2015. Deaths from HIV have also decreased, from 18,940 in 2008 to 15,454 in 2015.

Trump's move is being greeted with a mix of skepticism and cautious optimism by anti-AIDS activists. They're flagging his previous efforts to slash Medicaid health care for low-income people, and his administration's ongoing drive to roll back newly won acceptance for LGBTQ people.

"We stand ready to work with him and his administration if they are serious," said a statement from AIDS United and other groups. "But to date, this administration's actions speak louder than words and have moved us in the wrong direction." AIDS United funds and advocates policies to combat AIDS.

In the same address, President Trump also claims his budget will ask Congress for $500 million, over the course of the next 10 years, to fund research that could lead to new therapies for many childhood cancers.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report. FOX 10 reported on this story from Phoenix.