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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

6 White House HIV Policy Advisers Resign In Protest To Trump

Important HIV/AIDS policy advisers walk
From: Gay Pop Buzz
In a stunning development, six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) have officially tendered their resignations as a strong sign of protest against Trump and his administration.

In an opinion piece in Newsweek entitled, Trump Doesn’t Care About HIV. We’re Outta Here, members voice their reasons for walking and their frustration with the White House’s lack of focus on this important public health topic.

Authored by Scott Schoettes, former PACHA member and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, he cited the following as a primary reason for the group walking:

“Five of my colleagues and I resigned this week from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). 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.”
Speaking for the six members, Schoettes adds:

“President Trump has not appointed anyone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), a post that held a seat on the Domestic Policy Council under President Obama.
This means no one is tasked with regularly bringing salient issues regarding this ongoing public health crisis to the attention of the President and his closest advisers.”

It was reported in February that the Trump Administration has said nothing about ONAP and questioned what the fate of this office might be.

Current ONAP page from White House as of 6/20/17 at 10:14 am EST
ONAP has been in operation since 1994, beginning with the Clinton administration and continuing through both terms of the Bush’s presidency and Obama’s.

This is a critical office within the U.S. government, serving as a partner to numerous HIV/AIDS education, healthcare and advocacy groups.

At the time of this post, nothing appears on the official ONAP page for the White House (see screen shot above)

The article announcing the resignations concludes with the following:

“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.
We will be more effective from the outside, advocating for change and protesting policies that will hurt the health of the communities we serve and the country as a whole if this administration continues down the current path.”

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