Several Members of Trump’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council Have Resigned

The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) is an organization for providing recommendations and information to the President of the United States, as well as providing a strategy for combating the disease. However, on Friday, six members of PACHA resigned. In fact, several of the members wrote an op-ed, which was published in Newsweek, arguing that they can no longer do their job under a “president who simply does not care.”

The op-ed was written by Scott Schoettes, who was supported by five other members including Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle, and Grissel Granados. According to Schoettes, President Donald Trump’s administration has not created a strategy for combating HIV/AIDS in America. Schoettes goes on to say the Trump administration “pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease.”

Donald Trump
New York, NY USA – July 16, 2016: Donald Trump speaks during introduction Governor Mike Pence as running for vice president at Hilton hotel Midtown Manhattan ( lev radin / Shutterstock, Inc.)

Schoettes points out that the commission met with Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders during the primaries, but they never met with Trump. Schoettes added that the website for the Office of National Aids Policy was one of the many websites that were taken down after Trump took office. Moreover, Trump has not named the individual assigned to become the head of the White House National AIDS Policy organization, which was created during President Obama’s time in the White House.

The overall main idea in the op-ed is how the administration has created a plan to scale back the Affordable Care Act, claiming the law has resulted in “gains in the percentage of people with HIV who know their status, the percentage engaged in care, [and] the percentage receiving successful treatment.”

Proposals to replace the American Care Act with the American Health Care Act “would be particularly devastating for people living with HIV.”

The several individuals that resigned argue they would “be more effective from the outside,”  and are calling for members of Congress to listen to others who are working to reform the healthcare system.

What is PACHA?

Pacha was created during the Clinton administration in 1995 to provide guidelines and recommendations for the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, which came after President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic and the 1988 National Commission on AIDS.

What was PACHA like under President Obama?

The council was able to help craft a new national strategy for HIV/AIDS during the Obama administration. As a result, their guidelines provide ways to reduce infections, increase health care access, reduce inequalities in the healthcare system and design a national strategy to respond to the illness.