Patricia Ware, executive director of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, has left her post, The Washington Post reports, just days after an antigay activist she had selected for the council withdrew from the appointment. Ware, who has been executive director of the council since December 2001, is a leading proponent of abstinence-only sex education and was the former executive director of the conservative Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV Policy. Claude Allen, deputy secretary at the Health and Human Services Department, announced her departure Friday at the conclusion of the advisory council's two-day meeting.
Bush administration officials say that Ware is being promoted to a more influential position within HHS, but sources involved in the negotiations told the Post that Ware was being removed to avoid more embarrassment brought about by her support for the appointment of Jerry Thacker to the council. Thacker, who withdrew his nomination on January 23, has described AIDS as a "gay plague" and homosexuality as a "death style," as opposed to a lifestyle.
Some former members of the council say Thacker's views were views shared by Ware. "As an out gay man, I found Pat Ware to be on the verge of homophobic," said Stuart Burden, an executive at the Levi Strauss Foundation who completed his term on the council last summer. "It appeared at times that she wanted to blame the gay community for AIDS."