( Chicago, IL, June 27, 2017 )Today, President Trump issued a statement to mark National HIV Testing Day. This is the first statement issued by the administration regarding HIV/AIDS and comes on the heels of the resignation of six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS ( PACHA ), led by Lambda Legal's HIV Project Director and Counsel, Scott Schoettes. Schoettes had this to say in response to today's statement:
"We need action, not just words, on HIV/AIDS from the Trump White House.
"I am glad to see our resignations from PACHA prompted President Trump to at least say something about HIVthis is the first such statement out of this White House, despite numerous opportunities to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the past 6 monthsbut what we really need is action on the health care bill.
"The health care reform bill needs to be radically overhauled to address the needs of people living with or at higher risk for HIV. If we are going to get a handle on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Republicans must restore Essential Health Benefits, maintain Medicaid expansion, and continue funding the important sexual health and prevention services provided by Planned Parenthood.
"But I have such little faith that this Administration is going to make a genuine attempt to address the needs of people living with HIV, I am ready to bypass the President and appeal directly to the Senators working on this bill. Now that the Senate bill has been issuedand the vote delayedmoderate Senators need to sit down with HIV advocates to understand the consequences of this bill for people living with HIV, for communities affected by HIV, and for the country's ability to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic that rages on within various communities and geographic areas.
"Statements are nice; results are better."