Dr. Kenneth Mayer, Co-Chair and Medical Research Director of The Fenway Institute, has been appointed to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). PEPFAR is a U.S. government-led initiative to save the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS across the globe, as well as the cornerstone of the U.S. President’s Global Health Initiative. As the largest international program of its kind, PEPFAR relies on the shared responsibility among donor and partner nations, and all those working in HIV/AIDS public health, to invest their time, money, and expertise in saving lives.
Dr. Mayer was awarded this prestigious position based on his impressive list of accomplishments in the field of HIV/AIDS research and education. He has developed some of the first and most influential evaluations of the role of antiretroviral therapy in decreasing HIV transmission. For more than 25 years, Dr. Mayer has collaborated with Dr. Deborah Anderson, a mucosal immunologist. Together, they wrote the first paper that demonstrated that when infected patients initiated antiretroviral therapy, they became less infectious, as evidenced by decreased detection of HIV in semen. Dr. Mayer subsequently led the first evaluation of a topical vaginal antiretroviral gel in humans. These early studies helped develop two lines of HIV prevention research: treatment as prevention, which is focused on suppressing viremia in HIV-infected individuals so that they are less likely to transmit HIV, and the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Dr. Mayer has led several other topical microbicide studies, as well as key studies of post-exposure prophylaxis. The U.S. Public Health Service guidelines for post-exposure prophylaxis now recommend a regimen that was initially studied by Dr. Mayer. In addition to leading key investigations that have influenced the development of HIV prevention interventions, Dr. Mayer has served in leadership roles in numerous national and international professional bodies, including the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Disease Society of America and the International AIDS Society.
Congratulations to Dr. Mayer on this well-deserved honor! We know he will be a valuable addition to PEPFAR’s Scientific Advisory Board.
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