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Trump dismisses AIDS and HIV advisory council in San Francisco

Trump dismisses AIDS and HIV advisory council in San Francisco

President Donald Trump on Wednesday reportedly fired all remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) via a letter delivered by FedEx. No explanation was given by the president regarding their terminations, although some expect the firings are politically motivated. "I would personally be surprised if he even does replace these individuals with his own people", said Mark Leno.

It is not uncommon for a new president to clear a council of its members and restaff, and President Barack Obama did the same with PACHA when he took office in 2008.

Gabriel Maldonado, an Obama appointee whose term would have ended in 2018, was among those let go this week.

The council, called PACHA for short, was set up by Bill Clinton and is supposed to provide advice and direction on policy and other aspects of AIDS prevention. Medications have advanced since then, making HIV a much more manageable diagnosis for many Americans.

For Worlds AIDS Day, the Trump administration did not mention LGBTQ people.

He tweeted on Thursday that Trump showed "no respect for their service" by firing the council members. Fangerous that #Trump and Co.

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

But Sullivan and Schoettes said that previous administrations had allowed members to serve full terms before appointing replacements.

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Nicholas Carlisle, a council member and executive director of the Southern AIDS Coalition, agreed that it's not unprecedented for a new president to remove an entire council.

"I would like President Trump to remember what the epidemic had done not just to the LGBT community, but the entire country", Cecelia Chun, a transgender HIV-AIDS activist who has been living with HIV for nearly 25 years, told ABC News in the city in northern California.

"This White House is giving me anxiety about my future", Maldonado said. A call for new council member nominations went out via a December 1 notice posted on the federal register.

Six members of the council resigned in June due to "a president who simply does not care", according to one member in a Newsweek op-ed entitled "Trump doesn't care about HIV. Two, many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, and three were stayed on almost four months after an executive order was signed continuing the council".

"I think there's no way to know why President Trump made a decision to do this at this time".

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.

Since the resignations in June, Trump has made public statements on HIV/AIDS consisting of proclamations on National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day.


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