When the Trump administration took power, it took down the Office of National AIDS Policy website. Additionally, President Trump has failed to appoint anyone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. The former PACHA members cite these and other offenses as the reason for their departure.
Scott Schoettes, one of the PACHA members who resigned, wrote a stinging open letter on behalf of himself and the others who resigned. Published in Newsweek Friday, Schoettes’ letter reads:
“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.
“Because we do not believe the Trump Administration is listening to — or cares — about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down.”
The former PACHA members were also disturbed by the White House’s regressive healthcare policies. Schoettes wrote that Obamacare made it possible for more people to get an HIV diagnosis and led to a decrease in the number of new cases of HIV. He and the other PACHA members who resigned condemned the effort to roll back the gains made under Obamacare.
“We know who the biggest losers will be if states are given the option of eliminating essential health benefits or allowing insurers to charge people with HIV substantially more than others.
“It will be people — many of them people of color — across the South and in rural and underserved areas across the country, the regions and communities now at the epicenter of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“It will be young gay and bisexual men; it will be women of color; it will be transgender women; it will be low-income people.
“It will be people who become newly infected in an uncontrolled epidemic, new cases that could be prevented by appropriate care for those already living with the disease.”
Lucy Bradley-Springer, another PACHA member who resigned, voiced similar concerns, saying:
“After the inauguration and after I saw how this administration is going after so many things that make a difference in HIV, I just felt like I can’t be on that council and say I was working for the current administration.
“I don’t think this administration understands much about health. The more people that get infected with HIV, the longer it’s going to take us to get over this epidemic.”
Twelve members of the PACHA remain on the council. The resignations will only add to the growing concerns about the White House’s public health policies.
Watch this video for more information about the members who resigned (after the jump):
Featured image via YouTube.