PACHA is a federal advisory committee created in 1995 with the goal of " providing information, advice, and recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective treatment, prevention, and cure of HIV disease and AIDS".
Sullivan, who's a professor at Emory University specializing in HIV research, did not explicitly criticize the administration's decision to fire him and his fellow panel members, adding that there are plenty of scientists who can fill his position as long as US policy sticks to "well-established" and science-based research.
In a Fed-Ex letter, President Donald Trump has fired all remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) without any explanation. A call for new council member nominations went out via a December 1 notice posted on the federal register. Over 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, with the most vulnerable populations being gay and bisexual men, particularly African American gay and bisexual men, according to HHS. "They were also thanked for their leadership, dedication and commitment to the effort". Councilmember Gabriel Maldonado told Newsweek the Trump HIV Council firing may have come purely from the president's desire to clear the Council of its remaining Obama appointees. "All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018".
Impulse Group DC, a social and entertainment-based HIV awareness and advocacy group with particular focus on outreach to queer communities of color, sent out a press release heavily criticizing Trump's previous proposals to cut federal HIV programs, including the president's call to eliminate the Minority AIDS Initiative.
Scott Schoettes, one of the "PACHA 6" who resigned in the summer, tweeted that the remaining members of the council had been fired for calling the Trump White House's approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic "dangerous".
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"Like any administration, they want their own people there", Maldonado, an Obama appointee, told the Blade.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Advocates have been critical of the administration's approach to HIV/AIDS issues. He later confirmed to The Independent that all of the remaining advisers had been let go, citing three members who had received termination letters from the administration. "Every organization serving people living with HIV and fighting to end this epidemic must galvanize their networks of clients, staff, and volunteers to resist and fight back against these unsafe HIV policy decisions", he added. 'Many of us were Obama appointees. "But HIV is a bipartisan issue and we want to work with this administration just like we worked with the last administration and we wish the future PACHA members well".
Hayes cast the decision as a normal one made by an administration seeking to appoint its own peoples to a presidential advisory committee.