Trump fires entire HIV/AIDS advisory council via FedEx letter

Gage Skidmore  Flickr

President Donald Trump has fired the remaining members of the HIV/AIDS council, sending them pink slips in the mail via FedEx.

All 16 remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS were fired earlier this week.

Schoettes said in Newsweek that much of the public is unaware that "only about 40 percent of people living with HIV in the United States are able to access the life-saving medications that have been available for more than 20 years".

Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta who works on HIV testing programs, told the newspaper that the members were informed by letter this week that their terminations were effective immediately. The firing of the council members "is another outlandish and despicable move by the Trump administration in his year-long effort to erase the LGBT community and the issues that disproportionately affect us", he said in a statement Friday. The remaining 10 members were dismissed, the Washington Post reported.

Scott Schoettes, a senior attorney for Lambda Legal who resigned from the council in June, considers the firings "dangerous".

Formed in 1995 during the Clinton administration, the council's experts in health policy help lead the conversation on HIV and AIDS alongside the White House and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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"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 CDC director has denied those words are "banned" and said they were suggestions on how to get a project funded under the Trump administration. This Trump HIV Council firing has continued to raise serious concerns about the president's interest in seriously addressing HIV domestically and overseas. "I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, No. 1? I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018", he said.

"The timing is a little bit unorthodox compared to what the Obama administration's approach was", Maldonado said.

The council is made up of doctors, members of industry, members of the community and people living with the disease. "The tactics that we had are kind of obsolete, and now we need to craft new strategy to address the troubling and unsettling revelations, particularly around the silence and inaction that have taken place around HIV and AIDS".

His negligence, however, doesn't change the fact that millions of Americans deal with the effects of HIV and AIDS on a daily basis. Globally, there are 37 million people estimated to be carrying the disease.

During those meetings, he said the council had voiced concerns over the Trump administration's position on the Affordable Care Act, among other issues.

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