IN the US, six people have resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, saying President Donald Trump “doesn’t care”.
The six council members announced their joint resignation in a letter to Newsweek magazine, Gay Star News has reported.
“The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and—most concerning—pushed legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease.”
The letter says that only 40 per cent of people living with HIV in the US can access life-saving medications that have been available for over 20 years.
In Australia, 84 per cent of people who are aware of being HIV positive are on antiretroviral treatment, with 92 per cent of them having an undetectable viral load.
The letter mentions that during election campaigns, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders each met with HIV advocates, while Trump refused.
Trump has also not appointed anyone to represent the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.
“This means no one is tasked with regularly bringing salient issues regarding this ongoing public health crisis to the attention of the President and his closest advisors,” the letter from the resigning advisors reads.
The letter criticises Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make cuts to Medicaid, through which over 40 per cent of people living with HIV currently receive care.
“The biggest losers… will be people—many of them people of colour—across the South and in rural and underserved areas across the country, the regions and communities now at the epicentre of the US HIV/AIDS epidemic,” it reads.
“It will be young gay and bisexual men; it will be women of colour; 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.”