Schoettes noted that while both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met with HIV advocates on the campaign trail, "candidate Trump refused, [missing] an opportunity to learn-from the experts-about the contours of today's epidemic and the most pressing issues now affecting people living with HIV". Based in the organization's Chicago office, Schoettes litigated a number of high-profile HIV/AIDS-related cases on Lambda's behalf.
"More important, President Trump has not appointed anyone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, a post that held a seat on the Domestic Policy Council under President Obama", Schoettes continued.
He also criticised the President for not replacing the website for the Office of National AIDS Policy, which was taken down the day he took office.
Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses W. Burley III, Michelle Ogle and Grissel Granados are the five other members who resigned. Over the past two decades, its members have included physicians, public-health specialists, lawyers, health-care executives and community organizers.
On Friday, six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned. Now only 15 remain. It would particularly affect homosexual populations and also affect non-HIV homosexual and bisexual men and transgender women who need insurance for medications and supplies for preventing exposure and contracting HIV/AIDS.
"We knew that health-care reform was pending or was likely, and we wanted to make sure that our voices and the voices of people with HIV were heard", he said.
The resignation letter was drafted by Scott Schoettes. It just became more and more apparent - and really the American Health Care Act for me was the straw that broke the camel's back. Those without employer-based insurance were priced out of the market because of pre-existing condition exclusions.
"It is a bill that will make it much more hard for people living with HIV to obtain coverage if they do not already have it, [and] to afford coverage because the insurers are going to be able to once again start charging people with preexisting conditions who fall off of the insurance rolls for any period of time, more hard for them to get back in". That could mean super expensive coverage or no coverage for some HIV-positive people.
"We can not ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously", the members said. Five of his colleagues agreed.
"As advocates for people living with HIV, we have dedicated our lives to combatting this disease", Schoettes wrote, "and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care".