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President Donald Trump has terminated the appointments of all remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) who had joined the expert panel during the Obama years, CBS News reported.
The terminations come after the resignation earlier in 2017 of a handful of council members who said "Trump doesn't care about HIV" in a letter published in Newsweek.
Notice of the new terminations came to the remaining Obama-era appointees in letters received last Wednesday, according to council executive director Kaye Hayes.
"Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during administration changes," Hayes said in a statement. "The Obama administration dismissed the George W. Bush administration appointees to PACHA in order to bring in new voices."
Gabriel Maldonado was appointed to the council by the Obama administration in 2015, and was among those terminated. Maldonado, who is founder and CEO of the HIV/AIDS and LGBT advocacy group TruEvolution, agreed that dismissals after a change in government aren't unusual.
But he told CBS News that such dismissals typically happen at the council's quarterly meetings, so the earlier timing suggests that the Trump administration isn't prioritizing HIV/AIDS or LGBT issues.
Asked whether he thought the new administration cares about these issues, he said, "Bigotry and homophobia have been around since the beginning of the country, sometimes it takes a voice for a particular type of sentiment to be resurrected."
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