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Trump fires remaining HIV/AIDS White House advisors

Trump fires remaining HIV/AIDS advisors.
Photo credit:
Obama White House Archives

No longer is there a Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PCHA) at the White House. According to Newsweek, President Trump has let them go in a letter delivered by FedEx.

This comes six months after other PCHA members resigned because they feared the administration was taking HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention into dangerous and harmful directions.

Using the term “dangerous” to describe Trump and Pence is what apparently got the remaining members fired according to activist and former advisor Scott A. Schoettes.

Schoettes tweeted, “Remaining #HIV/AIDS council members booted by @realDonaldTrump. No respect for their service. Dangerous that #Trump and Co. (Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed,”

One of the remaining advisors, activist Gabriel Maldonado is not sure why all of the PCHA advisors were let go, but he thinks it may be to clear out the left-over Obama-era appointments.

“I can only speculate,” Maldonado said. “Like any administration, they want their own people there. Many of us were Obama appointees. I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018.”

It should be noted that cleaning house after another president moves into the White House is not uncommon, but concerns over the Trump administration’s recent budget cuts for funding is alarming to activists.

Trump wants huge chunks of money cut from the 2018 fiscal year budget including $150 million on HIV/AIDS at Centers of Disease Control and according to Newsweek, $1 billion on global programs such as Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria.

“Now is not the time for complacency,” Devin Barrington-Ward President of Impulse, an HIV awareness and advocacy group said, “Every organization serving people living with HIV and fighting to end this epidemic must galvanize their networks of clients, staff, and volunteers to resist and fight back against these dangerous HIV policy decisions."