Trump administration dismisses remaining members of HIV/AIDS council

President Donald Trump. Alex Wong  Getty Images

The Trump administration has fired all remaining members of the President's Advisory Council on HIV/Aids (Pacha), according to social media reports and interviews with former members.

The firings came Wednesday, and numerous members still had time remaining on their terms. Gabriel Maldonado, chief executive of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution and a council member until this week, said he could only speculate why the final members were fired.

"I knew that the people that remained were speaking their truth, and I've got a feeling that was not appreciated", he said. "I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018", he added.

"The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and-most concerning-pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease", Schoettes wrote on behalf of the resigning members this past summer.

Scott Schoettes, one of those who resigned then, tweeted about the firings Thursday, saying, "No respect for their service". Fangerous that #Trump and Co. Reports came out that Trump, behind closed doors and complaining about immigration statistics, was allegedly upset that tens of thousands of Haitians came to the USA each year, telling advisers the immigrants from that nation "all have AIDS".

Trump's termination of council members isn't a first time an administration cleaned house on PACHA.

Newsweek also reports that Obama fired all of the PACHA members appointed by his predecessor George W. Bush, meaning that Trump's move isn't unprecedented. "And a lot of those key vulnerable populations are not being prioritized in this administration". But it's more typical for members to serve staggered terms and rotate off gradually, he said.


In September, Trump signed an executive order that renewed PACHA along with 31 other presidential bodies for an additional year.

"I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, No. 1?"

Six members of the council quit back in June. The Republican-controlled Congress has thus far continued to fund these programs at previous levels.

"While we have made considerable progress in recent decades, tens of thousands of Americans are infected with HIV every year".

But gay rights advocates say the Trump administration has been discriminatory in a subtle way, leaving out any reference to the LGBTQ community from their statements.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on the dismissals or the resignations earlier this year.

It's unclear if the administration will continue the council and when they'll introduce new members.

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