Medicine

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

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

President Trump, pictured with Vice President Mike Pence, fired all remaining 16 members on his HIV/AIDS advisory council earlier this week.

Created in 1995, PACHA has provided advice starting in the Clinton administration and into the George W. Bush and Obama administrations on policy and research to promote effective treatment and prevention for HIV - maintaining the goal of finding a cure.

She did not address when the administration might begin to make new appointments to the council, which can number up to 25 members. "I think this is a President and an administration that doesn't value dialogue and dissenting views".

She also defended Mr Trump's decision to dismiss the members, saying alterations of a federal advisory committee are "a common occurrence during administration changes".

"Many of the council members for PACHA, like Bishop O.C. Allen and Gabriel Maldonado, both black gay men, came directly from communities who are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic, and helped write and revise the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy under the Obama administration", Barrington-Ward continued. "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", he said.

But gay rights advocates say the Trump administration has been discriminatory in a subtle way, leaving out any reference to the LGBTQ community from their statements.

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'Many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, ' Maldonado revealed. "All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018". An estimated 1.2 million people have HIV/AIDS in the United States and 37 million have the disease worldwide. In June, six members resigned, including Schoettes. He also wants more than $1 billion in cuts from worldwide programs like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Coming six months after the resignations, the firings are "a little too coincidental", he added.

"The timing is a little bit unorthodox compared to what the Obama administration's approach was", Maldonado said.

"While we have made considerable progress in recent decades, tens of thousands of Americans are infected with HIV every year".

Impulse Group DC, a social and entertainment-based HIV awareness and advocacy group with particular focus on outreach to queer communities of color, sent out a press release heavily criticizing Trump's previous proposals to cut federal HIV programs, including the president's call to eliminate the Minority AIDS Initiative. 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.

It is not yet clear when the new appointments will be made.


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