Published: Sat, December 30, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump Fires Entire Council on HIV/AIDS With No Explanation

Trump Fires Entire Council on HIV/AIDS With No Explanation

The remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have been fired by Donald Trump, reportedly without any explanation. The Office of National Aids Policy, established in 1993 during the Clinton administration, has not had a director since President Donald Trump took office.

Its most recent meeting took place in August, Sullivan said, and by November, an archived version of PACHA's website shows the group was down to 10 members and two staff. "I can only speculate", Maldonado told the Blade, "like any administration, they want their own people there". "The tipping point for me was the president's approach to the Affordable Care Act", Schoettes said.

Trump's relationship with the council has been beset by controversy, with six staffers quitting in June amidst discontent as to how the president has been handling the epidemic of HIV/AIDS. The Obama Administration dismissed the George W. Bush Administration appointees to PACHA in order to bring in new voices.

Ulysses Burley, a former Pacha member who left with Mr Schoettes in June, told The Independent that he had heard from other, Obama-era appointees who were suddenly dismissed this week. "No respect for their service", Schoettes wrote over Twitter.

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"To the best of my knowledge it's not a disbandment of the council altogether, but a dismissal of any pre-Trump nominees", he added, "which in my opinion might be more unsafe than not having a council at all". "I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018", he added.

"It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in", Maldonado said.

Ben Plumley, Chief Executive Officer of Pangaea, an worldwide HIV organization that works with funders and national governments to help at-risk populations, has said that if the US lets HIV go unchecked at home and overseas, it will destabilize each country's national security.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

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At the time of this post, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) has not been staffed - and hasn't been since the Trump Administration began in January of 2017.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has proposed massive budget cuts to programs created to help fight and eliminate HIV/AIDS.

Sullivan, who's a professor at Emory University specializing in HIV research, did not explicitly criticize the administration's decision to fire him and his fellow panel members, adding that there are plenty of scientists who can fill his position as long as USA policy sticks to "well-established" and science-based research.

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