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President Donald Trump reportedly fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) Wednesday.

Trump's relationship with the council has been beset by controversy, with six staffers quitting in June amidst discontent as to how the president has been handling the epidemic of HIV/AIDS.

The terminations were effective immediately, the paper reported, citing epidemiologist Patrick Sullivan.

And Trump has yet to appoint a leader to the Office of National AIDS Policy or to put up a new government website for that office.

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".

Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the Riverside, Calif.,-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution, was a remaining member of PACHA and confirmed they were fired, but said the "explanation is still unclear".

Ulysses Burley, a former Pacha member who left with Mr Schoettes in June, told The Independent that he had heard from other, Obama-era appointees who were suddenly dismissed this week.

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It is not uncommon for a new president to clear a council of its members and restaff, and President Barack Obama did the same with PACHA when he took office in 2008. They also echo concerns voiced by sources close to the decision to fire the remaining PACHA advisers.

"It is a unsafe thing when the administration is eliminating people whose views are based in science and community experience", HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal in an interview with GPB.

"I was co-chair of the disparities committee, so much of my advocacy and policy references surrounded vulnerable populations, addressing issuing of diverse communities, specifically looking at the impacts of the LGBT community, namely, the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS to people of color, gay men, transgender women", Maldonado said. The president's 2018 fiscal year budget seeks $150 million in cuts from HIV research at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and more than than $1 billion removed from programs like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Coming six months after the resignations, the firings are "a little too coincidental", he added. "There is no way for us to know where on the agenda HIV policy is, and that is the concerning part".

Trump's 2017 World AIDS Day proclamation didn't even mention LGBTQ people (although neither did the proclamations of some previous presidents).

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

New appointments may be coming soon.

Advocates have been critical of the administration's approach to HIV/AIDS issues.


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