Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Trump 'doesn't care,' say six experts who resigned from HIV/AIDS advisory council

Trump 'doesn't care,' say six experts who resigned from HIV/AIDS advisory council

Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned in protest last week over what they call an administration that has "no strategy" to deal with the epidemic, and "a president who simply does not care", NBC News reports. Based in the organization's Chicago office, Schoettes litigated a number of high-profile HIV/AIDS-related cases on Lambda's behalf. After being sworn into office, Trump had the Office of National AIDS Policy removed from the official government website, which quickly raised a red flag among activists.

The group said that the final straw that lead them to quit the council was Trump's healthcare policies, which, if implemented, they declared would severely harm those living with HIV. We speak to one of the six individuals who resigned, Scott Schoettes.

HIV/AIDS patients benefit a lot under the Affordable Care Act, especially from the Medicaid expansion.

But their largest expressed gripe was that the Trump administration has not sought input from the council when formulating HIV policy.

On Friday, Schoettes slammed Trump as a president who "simply does not care" in an open letter to Newsweek.

PACHA was formed under then-President Clinton in 1995 to provide recommendations for the ongoing AIDS epidemic, which followed President Ronald Reagan's 1987 President's Commission on the HIV Epidemic and 1988's National Commission on AIDS.

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He said the US will start to negotiate to try and make the deal fair for the American workers, people, companies and taxpayers. As The Two-Way reported , he stated that the agreement gives other countries "an economic edge over the United States".

The people most affected by Trump's cruel indifference: low-income people of color, transgender women, and gay and bi people in Southern states where leaders are itching to cut off funding for meds and health care.

Protest takes many forms, and resigning from this administration's panels and councils ― as expert advisors to the EPA did after the Trump administration dismissed half of the members of an important science committee ― sends a powerful message.

He also points to "the many signs that the Trump administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously".

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".

The White House has yet to respond to the council members' resignations. "Under the AHCA, people living with HIV only stand to lose".

"Because we do not believe the Trump administration is listening to-or cares-about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down", Schoettes writes.

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