Trump reportedly fires entire HIV/AIDS council without warning

30 December, 2017, 02:10 | Author: Hope Soto
  • President Donald Trump. Alex Wong  Getty Images

President Donald Trump reportedly fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) Wednesday.

Gabriel Maldonado, one of the 16 members fired this week, fears "ideological and philosophical differences" ultimately led to the terminations. "Like any administration, they want their own people there", said Maldonado, "Many of us were Obama appointees. Two, many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, and three were stayed on almost four months after an executive order was signed continuing the council".

The Trump administration has pursued cuts to AIDS-related programs at home and overseas, for instance at the Centers for Disease Control and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, respectively. '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 wrote on Twitter.

Sullivan, who's a professor at Emory University specializing in HIV research, did not explicitly criticize the administration's decision to fire him and his fellow panel members, adding that there are plenty of scientists who can fill his position as long as US policy sticks to "well-established" and science-based research.

She did not address when the administration might begin to make new appointments to the council, which can number up to 25 members. Over 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, with the most vulnerable populations being gay and bisexual men, particularly African American gay and bisexual men, according to HHS.

President Trump re-certified PACHA via a continuance of Executive Order 12963 on September 29, 2017. He also noted that some people on the board were sworn back in as members earlier this year when their initial terms expired.

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"All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018". The Republican-controlled Congress has thus far continued to fund these programs at previous levels.

Since the resignations in June, Trump has made public statements on HIV/AIDS consisting of proclamations on National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day. Several who sat on the committee resigned in June of this year, citing inaction and apathy on the part of the administration regarding issues related to HIV/AIDS.

"We certainly have been vocal that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would worsen health and increase new HIV infections", Sullivan said. 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 requests for comment.

It is not yet clear when the new appointments will be made. Read the full Washington Blade article, here.

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