Trump ends terms of remaining members of HIV and AIDS council

Trump ends terms of remaining members of HIV and AIDS council

US President Donald Trump controversially fired his entire Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) this week, it's been revealed.

"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.

"The current members of Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) received a letter informing them that the administration was terminating their appointments", Hayes said.

Schoettes said in Newsweek that much of the public is unaware that "only about 40 percent of people living with HIV in the United States are able to access the life-saving medications that have been available for more than 20 years". "Dangerous 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. "Because we do not believe the Trump Administration is listening to - or cares - about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down". The remaining 10 members were dismissed, the Washington Post reported.

A notice on the Federal Register says the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking nominations for new council members.

Jim Driscoll, a Trump supporter who served on the council under President George W. Bush, defended the firings by saying they're "standard practice" for a new administration.

The health agency estimates that some 162,500 people (15 percent of all those living with the condition) are unaware that they are HIV positive. This Trump HIV Council firing has continued to raise serious concerns about the president's interest in seriously addressing HIV domestically and overseas.

Gabriel Maldonado, an Obama appointee whose term would have ended in 2018, was among those let go this week.

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 Blade reports that Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget proposal also sought massive cuts to HIV/AIDS programs, including $150 million on HIV/AIDS programs at the Centers of Disease Control and more than $1 billion in cuts from global programs like PEPFAR Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria.

Maldonado said he represented a younger demographic on PACHA as the only member under the age of 30, which he said is where the majority of new HIV infections are occurring, and as a young, black gay man. ".I can only hope that my people - marginalized people - remember that we have been here before".

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

New appointments may be coming soon.

Vice President Mike Pence, who has been running the administration behind the scenes as Trump continues his Twitter wars with the media, science, and fellow politicians, is vociferously anti-LGBT and has continuously shown resistance to combating HIV.

Related Articles