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 sciences
Track A focuses on basic and translational research related to our understanding of HIV pathogenesis and the development of novel strategies to prevent and cure the infection. After 34 years of research since the discovery of the virus, this conference will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the latest accomplishments of this research effort and to examine and discuss future research directions. Track A focuses on the following research areas:
- HIV transmission and early dissemination: from the impact of host genetic variations and restriction factors on HIV acquisition to the early events following infection in both primates and humans.
- Residual disease and immune activation/inflammation: from the role of the microbiome and virome, and the loss of mucosal immunity, to interventions to reduce systemic immune activation, immune aging and co-morbidities in HIV-infected individuals.
- Virus persistence, latency, reservoirs, and cure strategies: from the establishment and maintenance of the persistent viral reservoir of latently infected cells to interventions to achieve a functional cure in HIV infected patients.
- Basic and applied vaccinology: from the role of B, T and NK cell immunity against HIV to the development and trials of novel vaccines in non-human primates.
- Immunotherapy: from the administration of broadly neutralizing antibodies to the use of Immune checkpoint blockers in HIV-infected individuals, with insights from the recent successes of cancer immunotherapy.
- Nex-Gen technologies applied to HIV research: from single cells & molecules and imaging, to deep sequencing and systems biology.
Track B: Clinical sciences
Track B focuses on the latest research findings, complexities and controversies surrounding the clinical management of HIV and its infectious, non-infectious, malignant, metabolic complications and comorbid illnesses.
Bridging with track A, as "cure" research progresses, results from clinical trials assessing innovative approaches to eliminate viral reservoirs will be prioritised. In this domain, evaluating the impact of treatment initiated in the context of acute infection as well as the mechanisms of elite control will be covered. In synergy with Track C (Epidemiology and Prevention Research) and Track D (Implementation Science) approaches to treatment, care and support among all people at risk of, vulnerable to, or living with HIV such as migrants, sex workers, people who inject drugs, men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) and transgender and non-binary populations (including access to gender affirming care) will be addressed, as well as innovations related to the provision of HIV care in resource-limited settings.
Track B addresses the choice of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in both naïve and experienced patients, with interest in new drugs, pharmacokinetics (particularly new long-acting agents and novel formulations), drug interactions, adherence to treatment, and whether treatment should be the same for all people living with HIV and over the course of treatment, including treatment simplification. Improved methods of viral genotyping, impact of transmitted resistance and management of failing experienced patients in resource limited settings, with results of second and third line clinical trials, will be covered.
New developments in the diagnosis and management of HIV-associated opportunistic infections and malignancies; of co-infections, particularly hepatitis C (including barriers to access to HCV drugs) hepatitis B, tuberculosis (TB) and non-HIV sexually transmitted pathogens; and of age-related comorbidities (such as cardiovascular, non-AIDS defining cancers, renal, neurocognitive and metabolic diseases), will also be Track B priorities.
Track B will focus on the following areas of research:
- In terms of HIV-related inflammation, immune activation and their clinical consequences, a key issue is to understand who is at higher risk. Furthermore, the definition of relevant biomarkers and approaches targeting the consequences of inflammation and immune activation are of special interest.
- The management of polypharmacy: an increasingly important area with ageing populations living with HIV.
- The impact of drug-related toxicity in different populations including HIV-uninfected individuals who are exposed to ART (e.g. infants born to mothers living with HIV).
- Issues that are specific to population subgroups within key populations and those co-infected with HCV, TB or with other sexually transmitted pathogens.
- Clinical studies for Treatment as Prevention (TasP) and therapeutic vaccine interventions, as well as innovations related to the optimization of HIV care provision aimed at addressing key barriers and challenges across the HIV cascade in a variety of epidemic scenarios.
Track C: Epidemiology and prevention research
Track C focuses on new advances in HIV/AIDS epidemiology and prevention research and will examine the design and evaluation of prevention programs and their impact on the HIV epidemic. Indeed, over the past couple of years, potent and promising biomedical and behavioural strategies to prevent HIV-infection have been validated, but there remain many challenges at the individual and population levels that need to be identified and overcome in order to scale up effective interventions. This track will include advances in epidemiology, social and behavioural sciences that are relevant for HIV prevention. Issues of access, acceptability and adherence to universal treatment of HIV-infection, male circumcision and PrEP will also be addressed. There will be a focus on prevention programs that integrate other prevention approaches, such as condom use, behavioural changes, and harm reduction strategies for people who inject drugs. This track will also specifically address vulnerable populations that are disproportionally affected by the HIV epidemic (MSM, transgender individuals, sex workers, young women, migrants, mobile and displaced populations, people who inject drugs). Assessing the impact of these prevention programs on the HIV epidemic and their cost-effectiveness will also be critical. Areas of special interest include:
- Upscale HIV testing in key populations using different approaches including self-testing;
- Innovative approaches to prevent HIV-infection in pregnant women and infants;
- Novel strategies for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), including topical PrEP, long acting agents and neutralizing antibodies;
- Behavioural and biomedical interventions to prevent HIV-infection in people who inject drugs;
- Impact of combined HIV prevention on HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) incidence and sexual behaviour;
- Preventative HIV vaccines;
- Cost-effectiveness of HIV prevention.
Track D: Implementation research
The goal of Track D is to present state-of-the-art implementation science research that can help to close the gap between the ambitious UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal and how HIV care is currently delivered. This track will focus on i) scale up and sustainability of HIV prevention, treatment and care programmes; ii) integration of HIV prevention, treatment and care with other health and development programmes; and iii) methods to optimize HIV prevention, treatment and care in new or challenging settings. This track will incorporate novel strategies such as the use of financial incentives and community-based delivery of HIV services to improve linkage and retention in care. Track D will address important co-morbidities, including Hepatitis C virus testing and treatment, as well as highlight novel approaches to integrating HIV services with other healthcare for key populations, including tuberculosis, safer family planning, substance abuse treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis. Finally, this track will address the economic implications of financing the HIV response including the cost-effectiveness and budgetary impact of different testing, linkage and retention strategies. This track will permit an assessment of individual, community, and societal barriers and facilitators to reaching the 90-90-90 goal and interventions that enhance access to services across the HIV care cascade. Areas of special interest include:
- Use of financial incentives/behavioural economics to improve retention in the HIV care cascade;
- Delivery of care outside of the health care system (community-based research);
- Integration of HIV with other healthcare services, including tuberculosis, sexual and reproductive health and rights, opioid substitution treatment and PrEP;
- Hepatitis C virus testing and treatment; the potential elimination of HCV.
- Feasibility of eliminating HIV transmission in resource-constrained settings.