Trump administration fires all members of HIV/AIDS advisory council

Gage Skidmore  Flickr

U.S. President Donald Trump fired the rest of the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS earlier this week.

Members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) were surprised to receive an envelope from FedEx yesterday.

After the news broke that the remaining members had been fired, Schoettes fired off a response on Twitter, writing "No respect for their service". Fangerous that #Trump and Co. "(Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed", he added.

Months after a half-dozen members resigned in protest of the Trump administration's position on health policies, the White House dismissed the rest through a form letter.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump called himself a "real friend" of the LGBT community.

Gabriel Maldonado, one of the members fired this week, told the Blade he didn't know the reason for the firings, but said they could be due to "ideological and philosophical differences" with the administration.

Patrick Sullivan, a professor and epidemiologist at Emory University, and Oliver Clyde Allen III, an author and pastor at The Vision Church of Atlanta, were both appointed to the council by President Obama. "Like any administration, they want their own people there".

"If my contribution (on the council) was seen as valuable, my dismissal would have been unnecessary", he said, suggesting the Trump administration isn't making this issue a priority as much as it could be.

"Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during administration changes", Hayes said in the statement.

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PACHA was established in 1995, during the Clinton administration, to advise the White House on HIV strategies and policies.

"Remaining HIV/AIDS council members booted by @realDonaldTrump".

The group includes "doctors, members of industry, members of the community and, very importantly, people living with HIV", Scott Schoettes, a lawyer with the LGBT rights organization Lambda Legal, told The Post.

PACHA members have had problems with the way Trump runs the council since he took office.

Trump has sought to make $150 million in cuts to HIV/AIDS programs in the 2018 fiscal year budget, as well as deep cuts to global projects to fight AIDS and other diseases, Newsweek reported.

Now, with the opioid epidemic continuing to rage, the number of those diagnosed with HIV and fighting AIDS may continue to surge, and it looks like there is no effective, concerted governmental effort to stem the tide.

"I just am coming to the acknowledgment that the traditional tactics of politicking and policy and strategy and negotiation, the kind of standard tools that we're trying to use, that the status quo is no longer acceptable", Maldonado said.

Trump's 2017 World AIDS Day proclamation didn't even mention LGBTQ people (although neither did the proclamations of some previous presidents).

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