22nd International AIDS Conference
Amsterdam, Netherlands | 23-27 July 2018

Track scope and objectives

The scientific track is the general heading under which your abstract, if accepted, will be reviewed and later published in the conference printed matters. Please choose the scientific track that best describes the subject of your abstract.

Track A: Basic and translational research

Track A will highlight the latest basic and translational science related to development of an HIV cure and an effective prophylactic HIV vaccine, and understanding co-morbidities and inflammation and the interactions between HIV and key co-infections. With the availability of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) and effective biomedical prevention strategies with PREP, we have the tools to end the epidemic. However, the long-term sustainability of these interventions that rely on treatment is uncertain given the significant costs and infrastructure required. Therefore, finding a cure, a way to allow individuals to safely stop ART and an effective vaccine remain top scientific priorities. It is only with a cure and a vaccine that the world will see the end of HIV.

Ensuring that people live long and healthy lives on ART demands a better understanding of immune defects that persist on ART, such as inflammation and poor immune reconstitution and related co-morbidities. Finally, there will be a focus on understanding the pathogenesis of common co-infections that drive disease (TB, viral hepatitis and Cryptococcus neoformans) or drive adverse outcomes, such as aging or malignancy (CMV, EBV and HHV8).

Track A will focus on the scientific advances in virology, immunology and related areas that will advance our understanding of these major challenges and guide novel interventions. With the increased use of systems biology approaches to answer complex questions, there will be a strong focus on the application of these techniques to advance the field. Novel approaches to drug and vaccine delivery using nanoparticle technology and other delivery modalities will also be highlighted, as well as new animal models to better evaluate cure and vaccine strategies.

Track B: Clinical research

Track B is aimed at sharing the most up-to-date knowledge and research findings to inform the optimal treatment of people living with HIV infection. Track B will highlight the controversies and complexities of the clinical treatment and management of HIV, including antiretroviral therapy, and the infectious complications of HIV, including tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. It will also focus on non-infectious complications, including aging, malignancies and bone, cardiovascular, central nervous system, kidney, liver, lung and metabolic complications.

The latest clinical research data will be presented and discussed in the following areas: 

  1. Antiretroviral therapy:
    1. Investigational antiretroviral drugs: existing mechanistic classes and new mechanistic classes (CD4 attachment inhibitors, maturation inhibitors, capsid inhibitors)
    2. Investigational immune-based therapies: broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic vaccines
    3. New strategies: two-drug regimens, all injectable regimens, implantable devices
    4. Drug-related toxicities: bone, central nervous system, renal
    5. Drug-drug interactions.
  2. HIV cure:
    1. Functional cure: strategies for controlling HIV RNA levels without the need for ART
    2. Sterilizing cure: strategies for activating and eliminating HIV from reservoirs.
  3. HIV-related inflammation and immune activation and their clinical consequences:
    1. Characterizing the relationship between inflammation and immune activation and;
    2. End-organ diseases and developing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
  4. HIV-associated infections:
    1. Tuberculosis: diagnostics, innovations in treatment (new drugs; shorter, better-tolerated regimens), innovations in prevention
    2. Viral hepatitis: new drugs for HCV and HBV infections, optimal screening and management
    3. Sexually transmitted diseases: new diagnostics, new treatments and prophylaxes.

Track C: Epidemiology and prevention research

The past five years have seen an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that we have the tools to end the HIV epidemic through increased prevention options and effective clinical care models, resulting in life expectancies of people living with HIV in many geographical regions now approaching those of the uninfected population. Yet HIV continues to spread globally and implementation of optional prevention/care remains sub-optimal.

Track C will address the reasons for this through the following specific areas of focus:

  • What factors (including social/sexual networks, multiple syndemics, migration and political unrest) continue to drive the HIV epidemic, and how can this information guide future “combination” HIV prevention interventions?   
  • What are the components of optimal combination prevention programmes (including antibodies, next-generation vaccines/microbicides, PrEP and non-therapeutic methods)? How are such programmes best implemented to ensure that we reach all vulnerable populations while respecting cultural differences and minimizing any negative impacts? Can we harness novel testing and online technologies to enhance the success of these programmes?
  • How do we best use mathematical models to accurately predict the healthcare needs of those living with HIV in the next 20 years and to identify optimal models of service provision that address each component of the HIV care and prevention cascades in different settings? 
  • Should successful HIV management stop at a suppressed viral load (if patient-reported outcomes be incorporated into the care cascade) and what barriers will stop us reaching 100:100:100?
  • How can third-party sector organizations and community-led organizations support the implementation of prevention programmes and effective service provision in an era of continuing funding cuts and other funder transitions?

Track D: Social and political research, law, policy and human rights

This track highlights the social, political, legal, policy and human rights factors that influence the effectiveness of HIV prevention, treatment and care and support for people living with HIV and those at risk of HIV exposure. These determinants interact with biomedical, behavioural and epidemiological realities to modify the impacts of policies, programmes, services and other interventions on the course of the HIV epidemic. Although social, political, legal, policy and human rights issues have been part of the AIDS discourse from the earliest days of the epidemic, their centrality has been reinforced by both recent progress in some areas of the HIV response and significant set-backs, policy failures and harmful new laws, policies and enforcement practices in many countries. Sessions in this track will provide opportunities to critically review the current state of affairs and to highlight and prioritize needed reforms and strategies for action.

This track includes the latest research, debates and dialogues on:

  • Innovative social, political, legal and human rights approaches to develop effective strategies to address behavioural and structural determinants
  • Innovations in theory, methods, tools and practices to integrate human rights principles and standards and to address critical legal, policy, ethical and human rights challenges in the HIV response and in research
  • Strategies for translating research into law, policy and practice to create and reinforce enabling legal and policy environments and to support the scale up of evidence-informed interventions
  • Mechanisms of community systems strengthening, community empowerment and community-led interventions
  • Political research and analysis of processes, influences and constraints of policy development.

Given the international fast-track targets for treatment, HIV prevention and zero stigma and discrimination, endorsed by all countries, Track D is central to considering how policy makers, implementers and civil society partners can best translate shared goals into reality. Leading policy makers, human rights researchers and advocates will reflect on progress, challenges, setbacks and strategies to chart the path forward at local, national, regional and international levels to attain jointly set ambitious global goals to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.

Track E: Implementation research, economics, systems and synergies with other health and development sectors

Track E science will focus on innovations and advances in implementation and service delivery and on best strategies for the use of human, financial and other resources for effective and equitable HIV and AIDS responses embedded within broader public health and development frameworks. Emerging data on the benefits and risks of HIV services integration will be a key theme. Speakers and sessions will explore effective ways to integrate civil society and community in local and national responses with particular emphasis on improving outcomes for girls and adolescents in high-burden countries, improving uptake and use of services for men, and on the special challenges for key populations in diverse contexts. Track E will feature the results of the IAS-Lancet Commission on the Future of the HIV Response and Global Health, launched in 2016 and composed of leaders in HIV, global health, health systems and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) who interrogate the risks and benefits of service integration, costing, governance and the shared goals of control of the HIV pandemic and improvements in global health.

Research presented in Track E will provide evidence on:

  • Allocative and technical efficiencies across the prevention and treatment cascade with a particular focus on the global target of the first 90 (HIV testing) and the “pre first 90” (access to prevention services) and barriers to achieving 100:100:100
  • Effective combination prevention that integrates key protective issues, such as keeping girls in safe schools, comprehensive sexuality education, gender-based violence, child marriage and gender equality more broadly
  • Tailored responses across sectors at national level, particularly for those who use drugs, are displaced, incarcerated or experiencing mental health issues, or are subject to stigma and discrimination, with a regional emphasis on the substance use-driven epidemics of Eastern Europe and Central Asia
  • Innovations in delivery methods, technology and data systems that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery partnerships with affected populations (including women and girls) and between civil society and governments
  • New forms of funding the HIV and AIDS response at country level, including effective options to mitigate the impact of donor retreat from HIV/AIDS broadly and specifically in middle-income countries, integration of funding between sectors at national and local levels, bonds and impact funding.