Trump Fires HIV/AIDS Advisory Council With No Explanation

Donald Trump speaks on his 'America First' national security strategy in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington

All 16 members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) were fired by President Donald Trump this week, without any explanation given for their termination.

Scott Schoettes, a longtime HIV/AIDS activist who resigned from the council in June over the president's inaction on the issue, announced that the rest of the council had been terminated on Wednesday.

"Like any administration, they want their own people there", Maldonado told the Washington Blade. Right now, many of us are people of color and members of the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV. "I wasn't supposed to leave until 2018".

The current administration has not appointed a director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, a major reason contributing to the June resignation of the six members of PACHA. Medications have advanced since then, making HIV a much more manageable diagnosis for many Americans.

"As far as I know it came as a surprise, it was very abrupt, and each remaining member simply received an email saying that their service was no longer needed effective immediately", he said. "Dangerous that #Trump and Co".

Maldonado said "ideological and philosophical differences" with the administration are a potential reason for the terminations. However, according to him, "a lot of those key vulnerable populations are not being prioritized in this administration".

'Many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, ' Maldonado revealed.

It is not uncommon for a new president to clear a council of its members and restaff, and President Barack Obama did the same with PACHA when he took office in 2008.

In addition to these recent firings, Trump has also sought huge cuts to programs, including $150 million on HIV/AIDS at the Centers of Disease Control. "Every organization serving people living with HIV and fighting to end this epidemic must galvanize their networks of clients, staff, and volunteers to resist and fight back against these unsafe HIV policy decisions", he added.

Ben Plumley, Chief Executive Officer of Pangaea, an global HIV organization that works with funders and national governments to help at-risk populations, has said that if the US lets HIV go unchecked at home and overseas, it will destabilize each country's national security. Neither statement includes a explicit mention of LGBT people, who are considered to have face the brunt of the disease.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The decision by an administrator to clear house at PACHA is not unprecedented. The Washington Blade reported in October gay Republicans familiar with HIV/AIDS issues and LGBT people have been among those contacted by a Trump administration official for possible appointments to PACHA.

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