Trump Fires All AIDS Council Members by Letter, Gives No Reason


Two Atlantans were among the final 10 members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS who were fired en masse by the Trump administration Wednesday through a form letter delivered by FedEx.

"As far as I know it came as a surprise, it was very abrupt, and each remaining member simply received an email saying that their service was no longer needed effective immediately", he said.

Sources with knowledge of the terminations told the Washington Blade that council members had been fired despite having more time on their appointments. "Now they need to find bona fide community people with appropriate expertise and the ability to adapt to the changed political circumstances", he told the Blade. "The Obama Administration dismissed the George W. Bush Administration appointees to PACHA in order to bring in new voices", she said.

As Newsweek noted, Trump hasn't even yet appointed an Office of National AIDS Policy chief, despite the disease's deadly persistence in much of the country and thousands of resulting deaths a year-the first time the role has been left vacant since 1993.

Six members had resigned in June, protesting the Trump administration's lack of action regarding the disease. Fangerous 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.

Also of note, during the Obama administration, almost all of George W. Bush's appointees were eliminated prior to new appointees being named. However, according to him, "a lot of those key vulnerable populations are not being prioritized in this administration".

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President Trump re-certified PACHA via a continuance of Executive Order 12963 on September 29, 2017. "I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, number one?"

"All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018".

However, HIV/AIDS activists have been deeply critical of the White House's approach over the past year.

Maldonado said he represented a younger demographic on PACHA as the only member under the age of 30, which he said is where the majority of new HIV infections are occurring, and as a young, black gay man.

"We certainly have been vocal that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would worsen health and increase new HIV infections", Sullivan said. "The tactics that we had are kind of obsolete, and now we need to craft new strategy to address the troubling and unsettling revelations, particularly around the silence and inaction that have taken place around HIV and AIDS". Members, who are not paid, offer recommendations to the five-year plan responding to the epidemic.

The Trump administration has been publicly supportive of efforts to combat the HIV and AIDS epidemic, releasing public statements on National HIV Testing Day and on World AIDS Day.