Fact Check-False claim resurfaces of HIV spike in US military tied to COVID vaccines

The U.S. military is not “testing soldiers for AIDS” based on the debunked idea that a Department of Defense database registered an increase in HIV infections since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Posts (here) and ((here) include a screenshot of a tweet that reads, “BREAKING: U.S. military is now testing soldiers for AIDS, after DoD database reports 500% increase in HIV since the COVID vaccine rollout.”

A spokesperson for DoD said that the claim is false, and that it is a variation of a misleading narrative circulating in early 2022.

The posts allude to the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED), which registered apparent spikes in cases of various conditions in 2021 as a result of underreporting between 2016 and 2020, as previously addressed by Reuters (here). That included an apparent 590% increase in HIV infections after previously unregistered cases were counted, while the claim being shared in 2023 mentions a 500% increase.

The claim that COVID vaccines cause HIV infections or AIDS has also been debunked by Reuters (here).


False. The U.S. military is not “testing soldiers for AIDS” based on the false claim that a database showed a 500% increase in HIV infections after rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work (here).