Six members resign from Donald Trump HIV/AIDS panel

'Trump Doesn't Care About HIV': Six Resign From Presidential HIV Advisory Council

'Trump Doesn't Care About HIV': Six Resign From Presidential HIV Advisory Council

Six top health advisors have resigned from Donald Trump's advisory council on HIV/AIDS, complaining that the United States president doesn't really care about combatting the illness. In fact, the current administration has no plan to address the on-going HIV epidemic, does not consult experts to formulate policy, and pushes legislation that will be harmful for people living with HIV or reverse significant gains made in the campaign against this disease, Schoettes said.

The White House also has yet to name a head to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy formed in 2010 by President Obama. He mentioned that the website for the Office of National AIDS policy has been taken down after Trump assumed office and is not yet in place.

Scott Schoettes, Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lamba Legal, a LGBTQ legal group, resigned during the weekend from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), along with five other council members: Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle, and Grissel Granados.

Six members left the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Shortly after that meeting, the council sent a letter to Tom Price, the Trump-appointed secretary of health and human services, and received what Schoettes described as a "perfunctory" response. It continued drafting policy recommendations, knowing that a repeal of Obamacare was among Trump's top priorities.

The "final straw" was the way the president is approaching health care reform. Those without employer-based insurance were priced out of the market because of pre-existing condition exclusions.

"It will be people-many of them people of color-across the South and in rural and underserved areas across the country, the regions and communities now at the epicentre of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic". It will be people who become newly infected in an uncontrolled epidemic, new cases that could be prevented by appropriate care for those already living with the disease'.

Shortly after the bill's passage in the House, Schoettes sent an email to several of his council colleagues.

Protest takes many forms, and resigning from this administration's panels and councils ― as expert advisors to the EPA did after the Trump administration dismissed half of the members of an important science committee ― sends a powerful message.

"As advocates for people living with HIV, we have dedicated our lives to combatting this disease", Schoettes wrote, "and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care".

"Because we do not believe the Trump Administration is listening to-or cares-about the communities we serve as members of PACHA", the advocate wrote, "we have decided it is time to step down".

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