According to a number of reports, President Donald Trump fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) earlier this week, reportedly informing them without explanation with a letter delivered by an overnight courier service. Earlier this year, several members resigned from PACHA writing in an open letter, published in Newsweek, saying Trump was pushing for legislation that would harm people living with HIV.
Co-chair of The Fenway Institute, Ken Mayer, MD issued this statement on the dismissals: “The President’s removal of nationally respected leaders in public health, research and education serving on his HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee sends the wrong message at a crucial time. We now have the necessary tools to control the epidemic with improved antiretroviral therapy to ensure that HIV-infected people can lead full lives and that those at risk can protect themselves from becoming infected. The U.S. government has played a leading role in ensuring that those at greatest need have access to these vital treatments. Creating a vacuum at this time could be misconstrued that the challenges of the epidemic have been resolved, but without a cure or vaccine, the leadership and resources of the U.S. government to address HIV/AIDS are needed more than ever.”