Monday, 18 June, 2018

Trump Fires HIV/AIDS Advisory Council With No Explanation

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images
A red ribbon in recognition of World AIDS Day hangs from the North Portico of the White House in Washington D.C SAUL LOEB via Getty Images A red ribbon in recognition of World AIDS Day hangs from the North Portico of the White House in Washington D.C
Ray Hunter | 30 December, 2017, 03:50

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly sent termination letters via FedEx to all 16 remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), a group that makes recommendations about the U.S. government's response to the HIV epidemic.

"Many of the council members for PACHA, like Bishop O.C. Allen and Gabriel Maldonado, both black gay men, came directly from communities who are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic, and helped write and revise the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy under the Obama administration", Barrington-Ward continued. No respect for their service. He was appointed to a four-year term in May 2016. "To lose this body's expertise and counsel at the White House on HIV issues threatens to unravel years of progress and our collective efforts to end HIV within our lifetimes".

Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, wrote in Newsweek why he and five of his colleagues made a decision to leave the PACHA.

Schoettes was among those who quit in June, and he went out with a fiery commentary in Newsweek.

"We tried to stick it out", Schoettes told The Washington Post on Friday.

PACHA was founded during the Clinton administration amid the AIDS" crisis peak in the "90s-over 500,000 AIDS cases were reported in 1995 alone-and was created to help presidents manage policy and research on HIV and AIDS. "That would serve the needs of neither the president nor of people living with HIV-AIDS".

USA condemns arrest of anti-government protesters in Iran
In Mashhad, Iran's second most populated city, police confronted the demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas. However, he noted that a call for "No to high prices" protests had been circulated on the messaging app Telegram.

"Will the administration appoint new members who bring philosophies and practices rooted in evidence based approaches that empowers and centers communities?" said Maldonado as he reflected upon what has happened. It remains to be seen how soon Trump will re-staff PACHA.

The website, which says it was updated December 28, now shows two staff and no council members. Former President Barack Obama did the same thing to George W. Bush's HIV/AIDS council. Inside was a short letter informing them they had been fired without warning from the council.

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

"I'll be upset and I will speak up if ever felt that there were policies advanced or approaches to education taken that would impact people's lives", Sullivan said. "It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in", he told the paper.

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. The council can have up to 25 members and nominations are due no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. ".I can only hope that my people - marginalized people - remember that we have been here before".

"The only criteria for serving this president is loyalty", he said. "I think this is a President and an administration that doesn't value dialogue and dissenting views".

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