Donald Trump Terminated All Remaining Members of the HIV/AIDS Council

Randall Padilla
December 31, 2017

Members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) were surprised to receive an envelope from FedEx yesterday. No explanation was given by the president regarding their terminations, although some expect the firings are politically motivated.

Maldonado said "ideological and philosophical differences" with the administration are a potential reason for the terminations.

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.

During the Obama administration, almost all of George W. Bush's appointees were eliminated prior to new appointees being named.

The advisory council was created back in 1995, to advise the secretary of Health and Human Services, in creating programs and policies pertaining to the HIV epidemic. Medications have advanced since then, making HIV a much more manageable diagnosis for many Americans.

Nonetheless, HIV and AIDS activists criticized the Trump administration.

Gabriel Maldonado, the chief executive of TruEvolution, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and an HIV and AIDS services organization, who was among those dismissed, said federal officials could have removed him and his colleagues when Trump was inaugurated or at one of the two meetings the council held this year. 'Dangerous that #Trump and Co.

'[The dismissed council members] were also thanked for their leadership, dedication and commitment to the effort, ' Hayes said.

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.

Experts and now-former members of the council expect new representatives appointed by Trump/Pence to focus on failed abstinence-only programs while ignoring the communities most affected by the virus - people of color and LGBT people. "It feels like retribution against members of the committee who have spoken out against the Trump administration for their inaction on issues related to HIV/AIDS".

"It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in", Maldonado said. In June, six members resigned, including Schoettes. "I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, number one?"

Sources with knowledge of PACHA said many council members were fired even though additional time remained on their terms as advisers.

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.

Trump has sought to make $150 million (€125 million) in cuts to HIV/AIDS programs in the 2018 fiscal year budget, as well as deep cuts to global projects to fight AIDS and other diseases, Newsweek reported. Globally, there are 37 million people estimated to be carrying the disease.

New appointments may be coming soon.

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

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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