Track Scope and Objectives
Track A: Basic Science
Track A highlights the latest advances in our understanding of the virology and immunology of HIV replication, transmission, pathogenesis, evolution/host adaptation, genetic diversity, latency and persistence, as well as advances in basic (pre-clinical) research in biomedical prevention, treatment and eradication strategies. We anticipate an emphasis on HIV reservoirs and latency (including their characterization, quantification, molecular mechanisms of establishment and novel strategies to interfere with this process) as well as basic research in vaccines and other biomedical prevention strategies (including different arms of the immune response, viral diversity considerations, novel vectors, new data from preclinical trials and correlates of protection). The track also encompasses HIV innate/intrinsic immune sensing (including host restriction factors, inflammation and innate immunity), antibodies and B-cell immunology (notably the genetics and evolution of antibody neutralization, passive transfer strategies, and non-neutralizing antibody functions) and immunology of T-cells, myeloid cells, dendritic cells and other key mediators of the host immune response. In particular, a focus on mucosal/tissue immunology, immune activation, exhaustion and senescence, as well as new data on the contribution of the human microbiome (and microbial dysbiosis) to HIV pathogenesis is included. The virology, immunology and genetics of HIV transmission, acute/early infection and host adaptation (in context of natural and vaccine-induced immunity) is also covered, as is advances in HIV phylodynamics and global spread. Track A also highlights the development of novel antiretroviral agents and basic research in drug resistance. Finally, the virology, immunology, pathogenesis and genetics/evolution of co-infections (e.g.: tuberculosis, hepatitis C and others) is covered.
Full Track A category list
Track B: Clinical Science
This track focusses on the latest research findings, complexities and controversies surrounding the therapeutic prevention and clinical management of HIV, its complications and comorbid illnesses. Specifically it addresses the choice and timing of the initiation and of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in naïve patients, with increasing interest on its effects on viral reservoirs. The development of improved methods of viral genotyping also raise important issues in the management of ART experienced patients; related issues include new drug therapies, pharmacokinetics (particularly with new long-acting agents), drug interactions and treatment simplification. Track B also addresses the impact of drug-related toxicity in different population including HIV-uninfected individuals who are exposed to ART (e.g. infants born to HIV+ mothers). Diagnosis and management of malignancies co-infection, particularly hepatitis C, tuberculosis and non-HIV sexually transmitted pathogens are also addressed in Track B. Given the marked improvement in morbidity and mortality associated with HIV care, Track B investigates new developments in the diagnosis and management of age-related comorbidities such as cardiovascular, renal, neurocognitive and metabolic diseases. As "cure" research progresses, innovative approaches to eliminate viral reservoirs are entering clinical trials and are highlighted here. Lastly, and with careful integration with Track C (Prevention Science) and Track D (Implementation Science) studies of preventative approaches, including vaccines, as well as innovations related to the provision of HIV care in resource-limited settings are presented in Track B as appropriate.
Full Track B category list
Track C Scope: Prevention Science
This track focuses on prevention science including methodological issues and studies of interventions. It includes consideration of study design topics, such as the use of geographical information systems and molecular epidemiology, and novel designs such as step-wedge or adaptive study designs, and results from the interventions themselves, including new approaches, next-generation development of existing interventions and combination interventions. Recent progress in behavioral, biomedical and structural approaches are discussed, with special focus on key populations (KP) including people who use drugs, impoverished and marginalized populations such as the homeless, migrants and refugees, men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender populations (especially in low and middle income countries where they face stigma and criminalization), sex workers, and young women. The Prevention Track also specifically addresses difficulties in scaling up effective interventions, such as circumcision or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), through refinement of existing interventions. Track C includes recent studies and debates on the relative merits and feasibility of alternative approaches. Topics include:
Full Track C category list
- Vaginal and rectal microbicides,
- Post-exposure prophylaxis and PrEP (including immunoprophylaxis and long-acting ART for prevention),
- Treatment as prevention (including TasP for KP, the potential impact of onward transmission during acute infection on TasP strategies and hepatitis C TasP),
- TB prevention (including vaccines),
- Interventions for adolescents,
- Use of mHealth applications for prevention,
- New testing approaches (including home testing and couples testing in KP),
- Innovative PMTCT approaches,
- Combination prevention packages,
- Structural interventions such as conditional cash transfer, and
- Novel harm reduction strategies.
Track D Scope: Implementation Science
Track D will provide a forum for presenting research, evaluation and progress on: i) scale up and sustainability of HIV prevention, treatment and care programs; ii) integration of HIV prevention, treatment and care with other health and development programs; and iii) methods to optimize HIV prevention, treatment and care in new or challenging settings such as conflict or extremely limited resources. Implementation Research provides a scientific framework to guide program scale up to achieve the objectives of zero AIDS deaths, zero new HIV infections, and zero stigma & discrimination in the HIV epidemic. It seeks to understand systems, costs, and technical efficiencies at national, state and local levels through the inclusion of governmental, private, and civil society to foster effective and sustainable response. With a foundation in operations research and the social-ecological model of health promotion, it acknowledges individual, community, and societal determinants of individual and program outcomes, and emphasizes combining/integrating proven interventions into effective HIV prevention and treatment programs. Drawing from the evidence base, it will help define a core set of programmatic interventions for countries to adapt by engaging populations and infrastructures at the sub-national/local level to ensure that they respond to current conditions and local contexts. It will help fill the analytical gap at country program level that is impeding the incorporation of new information from clinical trials and project evaluations into programs in a timely, efficient, and practical way. For treatment, we aim to understand the factors that promote or impede delivery of a cascade of linked services that maximize the speed and duration of viral suppression, delay the need for next line regimens, and return the individual to productive work and life. For prevention, we aim to understand factors at multiple levels of the HIV risk environment that minimize or even eliminate the likelihood of transmission during sexual activity, injection drug use and during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Implementation science seeks interventions that enhance scale-up of appropriate services at individual, family and community levels. This may occur through the integration of services for associated co-morbid conditions such as tuberculosis, STI, viral hepatitis, and reproductive, maternal and child health.
Full Track D category list