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Without Warning, Trump Fires All Members Of HIV/AIDS Council

31 December 2017

Six members of the council resigned in June to protest President Donald Trump's apathy towards the epidemic and his attempts to take health care access away from people living with HIV/AIDS.

Kaye Hayes, the council's executive director, confirmed in a statement Friday that the remaining members had received a letter saying the administration was ending their appointments. 'Dangerous that #Trump and Co.

The council, whose members are not paid, has advised the White House on HIV/AIDS policies for more than two decades, specifically offering recommendations on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, a five-year plan responding to the epidemic.

The group is created to include "doctors, members of industry, members of the community and, very importantly, people living with HIV", said Scott Schoettes, an attorney with the LGBT rights organization Lambda Legal.

"Like any administration, they want their own people there", Maldonado, an Obama appointee, told the Blade.

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.

"It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in", Maldonado said. The Obama administration dismissed the George W. Bush administration appointees to PACHA in order to bring in new voices.

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The council, called PACHA for short, was set up by Bill Clinton and is supposed to provide advice and direction on policy and other aspects of AIDS prevention.

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

Six members of the council resigned in June due to "a president who simply does not care", according to one member in a Newsweek op-ed entitled "Trump doesn't care about HIV".

Maldonado cited a recent Washington Post report which said that the Trump administration ordered the Centers for Disease Control to avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year's budget. But the jettisoned members are also encouraged to reapply to the new council, which will begin in 2018.

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. "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. The Republican-controlled Congress has thus far continued to fund these programs at previous levels.

Advocates were also angered that Trump's public statements on National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day didn't mention LGBT people, a change from the Obama administration.

Without Warning, Trump Fires All Members Of HIV/AIDS Council