"Trump doesn't care about HIV/AIDS" | Six resign from Trump's HIV/AIDS council

"Trump doesn't care about HIV/AIDS" | Six resign from Trump's HIV/AIDS council

Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have resigned over President Donald Trump's handling of the HIV epidemic. In the letter, the group said the Trump administration "had no strategy" to address HIV/AIDS, did not consult experts for policy and "pushed legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease". Moreover, Trump has not named the individual assigned to become the head of the White House National AIDS Policy organization, which was created during President Obama's time in the White House.

He also criticised the President for not replacing the website for the Office of National AIDS Policy, which was taken down the day he took office. Over the past two decades, its members have included physicians, public-health specialists, lawyers, health-care executives and community organizers.

The council can have up to 25 members. It would particularly affect homosexual populations and also affect non-HIV homosexual and bisexual men and transgender women who need insurance for medications and supplies for preventing exposure and contracting HIV/AIDS.

"If we do not ensure that USA leadership at the executive and legislative levels are informed by experience and expertise, real people will be hurt and some will even die", he said.

The resignation letter was drafted by Scott Schoettes.

The House's passage of the American Health Care Act in May, despite its pleas and research, was what finally made Schoettes realize the council could be rendered inconsequential under Trump. Those without employer-based insurance were priced out of the market because of pre-existing condition exclusions.

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He also points to "the many signs that the Trump administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously". Before Medicaid expansion under ACA, a person had to be both very low income and disabled to be eligible for Medicaid.

Schoettes and his colleagues often compared President Donald Trump with Barack Obama, whom they called a much more attentive steward of the council and whose Affordable Care Act "benefited people living with HIV and supported efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic".

Schoettes notes this was a hard decision to make however saying, "we can not ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously".

For people living with HIV, that usually meant an AIDS diagnosis - making the disease more hard and expensive to bring under control - before becoming eligible.

The several individuals that resigned argue they would "be more effective from the outside", and are calling for members of Congress to listen to others who are working to reform the healthcare system.

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