Local experts discuss Trump's mention of cancer, HIV in State of the Union Address

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 6, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- President Donald Trump touched on several issues during his State of the Union Address Tuesday night. Among the topics were childhood cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Local medical experts say while there have been great strides in pediatric cancer, funding is still needed.

President Trump said many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades. He says his budget will ask Congress for $500 million over the next 10 years. That money would be to fund critical life-saving research.

Dr. Jeffrey Joyce, the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs with the FSU College of Medicine, says funding is especially needed for the huge health disparities with respect to cancer rates and treatment.

"We don't understand the social and environmental factors that may be related to that. I'd love to see that as part of the research support agenda to understand all of the inequities related to that," Dr. Joyce said.

Dr. Joyce says the Big Bend area sees high rates of health disparities, particularly in the under-served communities. Dr. Joyce also says cancer rates have been going down, but not as much in pediatric cancer as medical officials would like.

President Trump also called for the elimination of HIV transmissions in the United States by 2030.

The initiative aims to reduce new HIV infections by 75 percent in the next five years and by 90 percent in the next 10 years. Reports say this could stop more than 250,000 HIV infections over that period.

Sylvia Hubbard, the executive director of MACA Inc. in Tallahassee, says everyone in the community has to get involved to try to put an end to HIV.

"It's something that nobody has to get if we just educate people and if we get people the treatment they need who are infected, if we get the mental health and the stability that the people who are infected need. That comes with our case management portion," Hubbard said.

Thursday, February 7 is National Black HIV Awareness Day.

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