The Trump administration has terminated the remaining 16 members of the president's advisory council on HIV/AIDS as it prepares to appoint new members. No explanation was given by the president regarding their terminations, although some expect the firings are politically motivated.
Gabriel Maldonado, chief executive of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution and a council member until this week, said he could only speculate why the final members were fired. "I would personally be surprised if he even does replace these individuals with his own people", said Mark Leno.
She added similar moves were made by both the Obama and George W. Bush administration.
The council has advised the White House on HIV-AIDS policies since 1995. Medications have advanced since then, making HIV a much more manageable diagnosis for many Americans.
Nonetheless, HIV and AIDS activists criticized the Trump administration.
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.
This week, HIV reseracher Dr Patrick Sullivan told The Washington Post that a form letter was sent out that "thanked me for my past service and said that my appointment was terminated, effective immediately". Unsafe that Trump and Co. He took to Twitter to lambaste the president's decision, accusing it of being part of a strategy to bring back "abstinence-only" sex education, among other "harmful policies".
'All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018'.
PACHA's executive director, Kaye Hayes, confirmed that the council members were fired, but she doesn't think the news warranted an uproar.
The PACHA website, which says it was updated December 28, now shows only two staff; all council members photos and bios were removed. He also noted that some people on the board were sworn back in as members earlier this year when their initial terms expired.
Six of the members of the council, upset by White House actions on health policy, resigned in June. The president's 2018 fiscal year budget seeks $150 million in cuts from HIV research at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and more than than $1 billion removed from programs like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
But in the meantime, an estimated 1.2 million people have HIV/AIDS in the United States, with the brunt of the epidemic hitting the African American community, and especially, young, black, gay men, where the majority of new HIV infections are occurring.
"I just am coming to the acknowledgment that the traditional tactics of politicking and policy and strategy and negotiation, the kind of standard tools that we're trying to use, that the status quo is no longer acceptable", Maldonado said.