Six members of Donald Trump's HIV/AIDS advisory council have resigned this week, after stating the President "simply does not care" about fighting the health epidemic.
The council can have up to 25 members. 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.
PACHA was created in 1995 to provide 'advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary [of Health] regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective treatment, prevention and cure of HIV disease and AIDS, including considering common co-morbidities of those infected with HIV as needed to promote effective HIV prevention and treatment and quality services to persons living with HIV disease and AIDS'.
'As advocates for people living with HIV, we have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care, ' Schoettes writes in the letter.
Schoettes noted that while both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met with HIV advocates on the campaign trail, "candidate Trump refused, [missing] an opportunity to learn-from the experts-about the contours of today's epidemic and the most pressing issues now affecting people living with HIV".
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Furthermore, the president has yet to appoint anyone to lead this same office - a position that held a seat on the Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama. The president also has not appointed a leader for the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, he says, adding that Trump refused to meet with HIV leaders when running for president, something both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders did.
"I think HIV was never a priority for this White House". It would particularly affect homosexual populations and also affect non-HIV homosexual and bisexual men and transgender women who need insurance for medications and supplies for preventing exposure and contracting HIV/AIDS.
Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, penned the letter.
The White House has yet to respond to the council members' resignations.
The members who resigned said that they could be more "effective from the outside" and would keep advocating the measures to reform the healthcare facilities and systems in order to provide better care to those afflicted with this disease.
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