Trump 'fires every member of his Aids council'

The Trump administration has terminated the remaining 16 members of the president's advisory council on HIV/AIDS as it prepares to appoint new members.

The mass dismissal of the advisers marked another nadir in the administration's dealing with the council.

"With no explanation, the White House has terminated members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS amid widespread discontent with President Trump's approach to the epidemic", The Washington Blade's Chris Johnson reported late Thursday night. 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. 'Dangerous that #Trump and Co. "(Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed", he wrote on Twitter.

PACHA was created by Bill Clinton in 1993 to advise the president on HIV/AIDS research, treatment and policy.

According to the Washington Blade, the remaining 16 members received a letter from FedEx revealing their termination with no explanation.

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"I can only speculate", said Gabriel Maldonado, a remaining member of PACHA.

"If we do not ensure that USA leadership at the executive and legislative levels are informed by experience and expertise", they wrote, "real people will be hurt and some will even die". 'Many of us were Obama appointees.

Cecilia Chung, an Obama-era appointee who left voluntarily after her term expired earlier this year, echoed these concerns.

Sullivan, who's a professor at Emory University specializing in HIV research, did not explicitly criticize the administration's decision to fire him and his fellow panel members, adding that there are plenty of scientists who can fill his position as long as USA policy sticks to "well-established" and science-based research. It's not unheard of for a president to clean house-Barack Obama eliminated all of George W. Bush's PACHA appointees before making his own-but Trump just renewed PACHA for an additional year in September. Additionally, the ONE Campaign released a report earlier this year on the potential impact of the White House's proposed $800 million cut to HIV/AIDS efforts.

The Trump administration has pursued cuts to AIDS-related programs at home and overseas, for instance at the Centers for Disease Control and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, respectively.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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