Another day, another tweet from a member of the Trump family that makes you want to scratch your eyeballs out.
This time, Donald Trump Jr has followed in his father’s footsteps by posting tweet that is being branded “disgusting”, “reprehensible” and “dangerous”.
LGBT+ news outlet Queerty posted an article entitled “What you stand to lose by not having sex with people with HIV”.
Written by David Hudson, the article discusses the stigma faced by people with HIV in the dating world, and busts well-trodden myths surrounding the spread of the virus.
For example, a passage reads:
If someone is HIV positive, knows their status, is on effective medication and has consistently had an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass on the virus. PrEP is also widely available in the US and several other countries to prevent people from acquiring HIV.
But it’s clear that Trump Jr hasn’t read the article, because he tweeted:
Trump’s tweet has obviously been interpreted to mean that the "one thing" someone could lose is their life.
But the science tells us that he’s very, very wrong.
Firstly, as the article says, when someone has been receiving treatment for HIV, they should soon become “undetectable”. This means that, regardless of whether sex is protected or not, they can’t pass on HIV to anyone else.
Undetectable = untransmittable.
Lots of people also take PrEP, which is a medication that stops people from contracting HIV if they have unprotected sex with an HIV positive person who isn’t yet “undetectable”. The most common reason a person isn’t undetectable is that they might not know they have HIV.
Outside the US, PrEP is available for free in Scotland and Wales, and as part of a trial in England. The Labour Party has pledged to provide the drug on the NHS for free if they win the 2019 General Election.
Crucially, HIV is not the same thing as AIDS, which develops when the HIV virus has gone untreated and reaches its final stages. AIDS does often lead to death, but with proper medical treatment the vast majority of HIV positive people reach healthy life expectancies and never contract AIDS. Read more on the difference between HIV and AIDS here.
People on Twitter criticised Trump Jr for reinforcing HIV stigma and peddling "damaging" ideas that have long been debunked by science.