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6 Experts Resign from President's HIV/AIDS Advisory Panel in Protest

Six experts resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS because Donald Trump "simply does not care," one of the members wrote in an op/ed piece in Newsweek.

Scott Schoettes, counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, and five other members resigned on June 13. The council provides advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promote effective treatment, prevention, and an eventual cure for HIV.

However, 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 wrote in the article published June 16.

"The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and -- most concerning -- pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease."

Schoettes added that the "decision to resign from government service is not one that any of us take lightly. However, we cannot ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously."

Many Americans aren't aware of the major impact that HIV/AIDS has in many communities or that only 40 percent of people with HIV in the U.S. have access to life-saving medications, but it is "unacceptable" for the U.S. President to be "unaware of these realities" and to "set up a government that deprioritizes fighting the epidemic and its causes."

Schoettes wrote that he and the other council members who resigned "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."

Posted: June 2017


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