Trump reportedly fires entire HIV/AIDS council without warning

In what activists see as another sign of his indifference to the AIDS epidemic, Donald Trump has fired the remaining 16 members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS "without explanation via a letter from FedEx", the Washington Blade reports.

"Like any administration, they want their own people there", Maldonado, who heads an LGBT and HIV/AIDS organization called Truevolution, said.

She added similar moves were made by both the Obama and George W. Bush administration.

But while President Barack Obama had terminated all Bush appointees to the council, this situation is different, said Maldonado, who was appointed by Obama and was to serve into next year.

PACHA, founded in 1995, provides advice to the administration regarding policies and research on the treatment, prevention and curing of HIV and AIDS. Medications have advanced since then, making HIV a much more manageable diagnosis for many Americans.

Advocates have been critical of the administration's approach to HIV/AIDS issues. Six members of PACHA resigned from the council back in June, stating that their departure then had to do with Trump's negligence on the important issue.

"No respect for their service", Schoettes said. 'Dangerous that #Trump and Co.

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

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"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.

'I can only speculate, ' Maldonado said.

Sullivan said he hoped that new members will "continue to engage around the issues that the previous PACHA brought up".

He also noted that numerous dismissed council members whose terms expired earlier this year were sworn back in to their positions months ago - even after Trump signed an executive order which kept PACHA going for another year.

Now, with the opioid epidemic continuing to rage, the number of those diagnosed with HIV and fighting AIDS may continue to surge, and it looks like there is no effective, concerted governmental effort to stem the tide. Globally, there are 37 million people estimated to be carrying the disease.

Another six members resigned from the advisory body after they stated that President Trump "simply does not care". In the 2018 fiscal year budget Trump has sought huge cuts to programs including $150 million on HIV/AIDS at the Centers of Disease Control.

Maldonado said he represented a younger demographic on PACHA as the only member under the age of 30, which he said is where the majority of new HIV infections are occurring, and as a young, black gay man. ".I can only hope that my people - marginalized people - remember that we have been here before".

Advocates were also angered that Trump's public statements on National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day didn't mention LGBT people, a change from the Obama administration.

  • Sonia Alvarado