Trump terminates remaining HIV/AIDS advisory council appointments

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The Trump administration has terminated the appointments of the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, a statement from the council’s executive director confirmed this week.

The dismissals come after six members resigned in June, citing “a President who simply does not care,” according to a Newsweek op-ed written by one member at the time.

The move is part of the Trump administration’s effort to “bring in new voices,” the council’s executive director B. Kaye Hayes said in a statement. But the jettisoned members are also encouraged to reapply to the new council, which will begin in 2018.

“The current members of Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) received a letter informing them that the administration was terminating their appointments,” Hayes said.

“Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during Administration changes,” she added, noting that similar moves were made by both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations.

The council — known as PACHA — was founded in 1995 during the Clinton administration to provide guidance on HIV treatment and prevention.

The June op-ed, in which Scott Schoettes outlined his reasons for resigning, was headlined: “Trump doesn’t care about HIV. We’re outta here.”

“We cannot ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic, or the needs of people living with HIV, seriously,” wrote Schoettes, the HIV project director for Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization focused on the LGBT community and people living with HIV. Schoettes was appointed to the advisory council during the Obama administration.

This is not the first advisory council Trump has scuttled since taking the oval office — notably dismantling a federal advisory committee on climate change in August.

By Zachary Cohen and Dan Merica, CNN

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