Microsoft founder and global health philanthropist Bill Gates has revealed that US President Donald Trump has twice asked him the difference between HIV and HPV.
Gates said he met Trump in 2016 and again last year, Gay Times has reported.
“I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other,” said Gates.
He said he also managed to talk Trump out of holding an inquiry into the efficacy of vaccines, saying, “That’s a dead end, that would be a bad thing, don’t do that”.
The Trump administration has faced criticism over its handling of policy and matters around HIV, particularly after firing its entire HIV council in December.
After six members of the council resigned last year over Trump’s “legislation that will harm people living with HIV”, the remaining 10 were terminated over the holiday break.
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy has closed, with no reports as to when or if it will reopen.
Also controversial is the newly appointed head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Robert Redfield.
A former military public health official, Redfield has previously said AIDS is “God’s judgement” against gay people, Gay Star News has reported.
In 1985 he ordered mandatory HIV testing for all troops, without confidentiality around results, leading to stigma and reportedly suicides.
In 1990 he spoke out against condoms, calling them a “quick fix strategy” from “false prophets”.
Trump first came under fire over HIV issues during the presidential campaign, when Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders each met with advocates, while he refused.
“The Trump administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy,” said Scott Schoettes, a lawyer and HIV advocate who resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS last year.