The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS is set to hold a meeting in March, even though the council still has no members nearly a year after President Trump terminated its remaining advisers without explanation.
The meeting will be open to the public, the notice says, except the sessions will include a closed session on March 14 “for administrative briefings to be presented to the new council members.”
Created in 1995 by President Clinton, PACHA is charged with advising the president on policy and research to promote effective treatment and prevention for HIV — maintaining the goal of finding a cure. The council served as an advisory body during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, but has largely been inactive in the Trump era.
As first reported by the Washington Blade, Trump terminated all remaining members of PACHA in December 2017 via a letter delivered by FedEx. Since that time, the council has been vacant, the administration has announced no new members and its fate has remained unclear.
In June 2017, six advisers on the panel resigned over Trump’s perceived inaction in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Top of the list of concerns was Trump’s refusal to appoint a director for the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, which is a position that remains unfilled to this day.
Kaye Hayes, executive director of PACHA, said in response to a Blade inquiry on how the council can meet without any members HHS is “pleased the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS has been scheduled.”
“We do not have a final list of members to share at this time,” Hayes added.
Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, said he understands the administration is vetting “potential new members going through clearance and ethics for conflicts of interest, etc.”