Since 1995, members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have helped lead the nation’s response to the epidemic. But this summer, six PACHA members resigned, citing their inability to do their jobs effectively under a president “who simply does not care.” At least that’s how Scott Schoettes, HIV project director at Lambda Legal, described his decision in a Newsweek op-ed.
As proof, he points to the fact that Trump shut down the website for the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and has yet to appoint someone to lead that office. “While these actions and others are gravely worrisome,” Schoettes writes, “the final straw for us—more like a two-by-four than a straw—is President Trump’s handling of health care reform.” (As of press time, Republican lawmakers have yet to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—ACA, or Obamacare—but every one of their proposed bills would have catastrophic effects on people living with HIV.)
The other PACHA members who resigned are Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses W. Burley III, Michelle Ogle and Grissel Granados (Schoettes and two others are living with HIV). PACHA can have up to 25 members, each of whom serves for up to four years; currently, HIV.gov lists 16 members.