January 21, 2018

US President Donald Trump fires entire council advising on HIV/AIDS

31 December 2017, 03:58 | Frank Carlson

Trump fires all members of HIV/AIDS council without explanation


The administration of US President Donald Trump has dismissed the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), according to US media reports.

"We can not ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic, or the needs of people living with HIV, seriously", wrote Schoettes, the HIV project director for Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization focused on the LGBT community and people living with HIV.

President Barack Obama appointed Chung to the advisory council on HIV-AIDS. "No respect for their service", Schoettes wrote on Twitter Thursday. Unsafe that Trump and Co.

Lawyer Scott Shoettes, who resigned from the committee in June, called Trump's decision "dangerous", adding in a tweet that his administration was "eliminating the few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex education".

PACHA will continue with different members, executive director Kaye Hayes said in a statement, and the White House will now begin the task of making up to 25 new appointments. "I would like President Trump to remember what the epidemic had done not just to the LGBT community, but the entire country".

Maldonado cited a recent Washington Post report which said that the Trump administration ordered the Centers for Disease Control to avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year's budget.

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Formed in 1995 during the Clinton administration, the council's experts in health policy help lead the conversation on HIV and AIDS alongside the White House and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. 'Many of us were Obama appointees.

In June, Schoettes penned an article for Newsweek in which he justified the resignations, accusing the president of not caring about people living with HIV. Schoettes was appointed to the advisory council during the Obama administration. "I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, No. 1?"

He also noted that numerous dismissed council members whose terms expired earlier this year were sworn back in to their positions months ago - even after Trump signed an executive order which kept PACHA going for another year. The Republican-controlled Congress has thus far continued to fund these programs at previous levels.

Gabriel Maldonado (center), speaking during the AHF World AIDS DAY Concert and 30th Anniversary Celebration on November 30, 2017. Neither statement includes a explicit mention of LGBT people, who are considered to have face the brunt of the disease.

Advocates have been critical of the administration's approach to HIV/AIDS issues.

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