Donald Trump fires remaining HIV/AIDS council members

Dianna Christensen
December 31, 2017

President Donald Trump on Wednesday reportedly fired all remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) via a letter delivered by FedEx.

"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.

Schoettes' tweets hint at the idea that the Trump administration may be attempting to purge PACHA, in particular, of any Obama appointees who might be resistant to carrying out an abstinence-only or religious approach when it comes to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts - something that Vice President Mike Pence advocated during his time as governor of Indiana.

Gabriel Maldonado, the chief executive of TruEvolution, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and an HIV and AIDS services organization, who was among those dismissed, said federal officials could have removed him and his colleagues when Trump was inaugurated or at one of the two meetings the council held this year. Unsafe that Trump and Co.

Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta who works on HIV testing programs, told the newspaper that the members were informed by letter this week that their terminations were effective immediately. "I would like President Trump to remember what the epidemic had done not just to the LGBT community, but the entire country".

Speaking to the Washington Post following the December removal of the remaining PACHA members, Schoettes alleged that loyalty to the president, not credentials, will likely be the driving factor in approving new nominations to the council, saying: "The only criteria for serving this president is loyalty".

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In June, six members of the PACHA resigned the posts in protest over what they called inaction from Trump on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. In June, six members resigned, including Schoettes. The Obama administration dismissed the George W. Bush administration appointees to PACHA in order to bring in new voices.

The administration wanted to make changes to the advisory committee in order to find its own appointees, according to media reports.

"It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in", Maldonado said. The Republican-controlled Congress has thus far continued to fund these programs at previous levels.

Several members slammed Trump's planned American Health Care Act (AHCA), saying it would leave numerous 1.1 million Americans with HIV-AIDS without access to proper treatment. Globally, there are 37 million people estimated to be carrying the disease.

Trump's ignorance on the issue was evident last week as well.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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