President Donald Trump reportedly fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) Wednesday.
Trump's firing came after six members of the council resigned in June in response to the administration's health policies, writing that "the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or needs of people living with HIV seriously".
Maldonado cited a recent Washington Post report which said that the Trump administration ordered the Centers for Disease Control to avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year's budget.
Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta who works on HIV testing programs, told the newspaper the members were informed by letter this week that their terminations were effective immediately.
Experts and now-former members of the council expect new representatives appointed by Trump/Pence to focus on failed abstinence-only programs while ignoring the communities most affected by the virus - people of color and LGBT people.
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".
The administration wanted to make changes to the advisory committee in order to find its own appointees, according to media reports.
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"No respect for their service", Schoettes said. "These issues are critical to people's health, and are critical to making new HIV infections rare". "Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during Administration changes".
He also noted that numerous dismissed council members whose terms expired earlier this year were sworn back in to their positions months ago - even after Trump signed an executive order which kept PACHA going for another year. "All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018".
PACHA members have had problems with the way Trump runs the council since he took office. They also echo concerns voiced by sources close to the decision to fire the remaining PACHA advisers.
Several members slammed Trump's planned American Health Care Act (AHCA), saying it would leave numerous 1.1 million Americans with HIV/AIDS without access to proper treatment.
Trump was criticized earlier this month for his World AIDS Day pronouncement that did not acknowledge how blacks are disproportionately affected by the illness.
The firing of the remaining board members provides further evidence that the Trump administration isn't interested in the issue.