President Trump has fired the entire council that advises his administration about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. No explanation was given by the president regarding their terminations, although some expect the firings are politically motivated.
One of the recently-terminated members is Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of Truevolution, an HIV/AIDS group based in Riverside, California. "Most new administrations appoint their own councils early in their terms, not after nearly a year in office".
The council, known by the acronym PACHA, has advised the White House on HIV/AIDS policies since its founding in 1995. Medications have advanced since then, making HIV a much more manageable diagnosis for many Americans.
Vice President Mike Pence, who has been running the administration behind the scenes as Trump continues his Twitter wars with the media, science, and fellow politicians, is vociferously anti-LGBT and has continuously shown resistance to combating HIV.
Scott Schoettes, who was one of the six members who resigned in June, is a lawyer for Lambda Legal, a national LGBT civil rights organization dedicated to those with HIV and AIDS. Fangerous that #Trump and Co. But the jettisoned members are also encouraged to reapply to the new council, which will begin in 2018.
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'Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during Administration changes.
Speaking to the Washington Post following the December removal of the remaining PACHA members, Schoettes alleged that loyalty to the president, not credentials, will likely be the driving factor in approving new nominations to the council, saying: "The only criteria for serving this president is loyalty". "In his first year in office, President Trump has made a continuous effort to erase LGBTQ people and people living with HIV from the fabric of our country - actions that fly in the face of American values and that all fair-minded Americans will continue to push back against in the new year".
'I can only speculate, ' Maldonado said. Globally, there are 37 million people estimated to be carrying the disease. The Republican-controlled Congress has thus far continued to fund these programs at previous levels.
Although the number of new HIV infections in the U.S. fell% between 2010 and 2015, gay and bisexual men remain at the highest risk, along with other minority groups including blacks and Hispanics, according to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. ".I can only hope that my people - marginalized people - remember that we have been here before".