Dr. Conant was recently named a Public Health Hero by the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. On Wednesday March 21st, 2012, there will be a gala in his honor along with Ms. Mary Robinson the former president of Ireland, who is his co-recipient this year. The event will take place at the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco at 6:30 pm, and will be honoring Dr. Conant “For his lifetime efforts in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS”. To learn more click here.
Dr Conant delivered a lecture at the American Dermatological Association meeting in Napa last week. You can view the presentation here: Pitfalls, Perils & Pearls
Dr Conant’s Comments:
“We should expect to see more and more of this collaboration between science and the general public in the years to come. We know that using thousands of computers increases our electronic capability of problem-solving; we forget that it simultaneously increases our human brain power by employing thousands of our fellow humans with unique experiences and insights. The same efforts are being used to map the galaxies and to look for intelligent life outside of our solar system. Gov. Rick Perry may not think much of science. But science is doing some pretty incredible things.”
Online Gamers Crack AIDS Enzyme Puzzle
By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, September 18th, 2011 — 2:41 pm
PARIS — Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.
The exploit is published on Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where — exceptionally in scientific publishing — both gamers and researchers are honoured as co-authors.
Their target was a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV. Figuring out the structure of proteins is vital for understanding the causes of many diseases and developing drugs to block them.
Dr Conant’s Comment:
“Perianal and anal warts are very common in individuals who have receptive anal sex.
Anal warts (HPV) can progress to dysplasia (abnormal cells), and then to malignant squamous cell carcinoma.
This form of cancer may be painless for many months and the only way to diagnose it in an early stage is by doing a rectal Pap (Papanicolaou) smear.
Many individuals who have engaged in receptive anal sex do not disclose this to their physician. They should do so and request an anal Pap smear at least once a year. The Pap smear will detect early dysplastic changes from asymptomatic changes inside the rectum and the dysplastic area can be destroyed before it becomes malignant.
Advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the rectum with metastases is an emotionally degrading and painful way to die.”
San Francisco will be the first city in the nation to offer PrEP treatment to HIV negative individuals. Read the article here.
Dr Conant’s Comments:
“I started offering preexposure prophylaxis to HIV-negative men who were at high risk of contracting HIV about six years ago. I had only about a dozen patients in that six year time frame, and most of them chose to stop taking the preexposure prophylaxis because their insurance companies would not pay for the medication and it was too expensive.
About 10 years ago Dr. Michael Youle and I approached senior management at Gilead to provide funding for an HIV preexposure prophylactic trial in high-risk men. Unfortunately, the company was not willing to pursue this initiative.
Recent trials have shown that preexposure prophylaxis if taken regularly significantly reduces the chance of contracting HIV. Studies have also shown that if HIV-positive patients are treated and can maintain an undetectable viral load they are at little or no risk to infecting their sexual partners.
It appears to me that the way to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic in San Francisco is to test everyone for HIV, treat everyone who is HIV-positive the moment they are found to be positive, and then monitor those patients through the Public Health Service to be certain that they maintain an undetectable viral load.
This use of resources would significantly diminish HIV transmission, allow for contact tracing, keep HIV positive people healthier and decrease transmission. The cost of this program would be more than the cost of prescribing pre-exposure prophylaxis to a few patients, but would be far more effective in reducing the number of HIV infections in the city and in the long run far more cost-effective.
I am pleased to see that San Francisco is going to be a test site for preexposure prophylaxis. I’m anxious to see who is going to pay for this program long term.”
The surprising story of how, 30 years into the AIDS pandemic, one of history’s most successful vaccine methods has never been seriously tested for HIV/AIDS from killedhiv.org
Featuring interviews with:
MARCUS A. CONANT, M.D.
HIV/AIDS Treatment Specialist
BURTON P. DORMAN, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and President, AGRI and Acrogen, Inc.
DONALD P. FRANCIS, M.D., D.Sc.
Global Health/Infectious Disease Scientist
DONALD KENNEDY, Ph.D.
Stanford University, Science Magazine, US F.D.A.
Infectious Disease Prevention Advocate
HAYNES W. SHEPPARD, Ph.D. Immunologist
Public Health Laboratory Specialist