ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS NOW OPEN

Abstracts may be submitted through your conference profile until 14 January 2020 (23:59 CET). Track scope and objectives, track categories and full submission guidelines can be found below.

Abstracts submitted to the conference will go through a blind peer-review process carried out by an international review panel. Members of the Scientific Programme Committee will make the final selection of abstracts by the end of March.

The highest-scoring abstracts will be selected for presentation in oral abstract sessions or poster discussion sessions. The majority of the selected posters will be displayed in the poster exhibition.

Young and/or less experienced abstract submitters may benefit from the Abstract Mentor Programme prior to abstract submission.

Scientific tracks

The 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) welcomes abstracts for original contribution to the field in the following scientific tracks:

  • Track A: Basic and translational research
  • Track B: Clinical research
  • Track C: Epidemiology and prevention research
  • Track D: Social and behavioural research
  • Track E: Implementation research, economics, systems and synergies with other health and development sectors
  • Track F: Political research, law, policy and human rights

Each scientific track is divided into a number of track categories. All abstract authors are asked to choose one scientific track and one track category during the submission process.

By submitting an abstract to the conference, you agree to adhere to the conference embargo policy. The policy specifies that while authors may publish the fact that their abstract has been selected for inclusion in the conference programme, data from the abstract may NOT be shared in any form (print, broadcast or online publication, media release or conference presentation) prior to its official presentation at AIDS 2020.

Track scope and objectives

Basic and translational research

Track A will focus on recent advancements made through both basic and translational research to further our understanding of HIV transmission, pathogenesis and persistence. Highlights will include advances in: understanding host-viral factors impacting HIV transmission and acquisition; mechanisms of reservoir establishment and HIV persistence; accurately measuring and targeting reservoirs of HIV infection; B cell engineering and manipulating B cell immunity as treatment and prevention; and understanding the ramifications of co-morbidities with HIV. Recent findings will be linked to clinical research (Track B) where appropriate. The following topics will be emphasized in Track A:

  • Broadly neutralizing antibodies as prevention and treatment. From B cell engineering to antibody stabilization: We will look at new ways to elicit long-term expression of broadly neutralizing B cell immunity against HIV, from recent progress in B cell receptor engineering that changes antibody specificity to production of stabilized immunoglobulins that require fewer infusions.
  • How early is early? Lessons learned from treating acute infections. When and where is the viral reservoir established? Correlates to define successful remission after early treatment.
  • Novel technologies to understand, measure and eliminate the viral reservoir. From single-cell RNA sequencing to single molecule detection, to novel assays and latency-reversing agents, we will explore how novel concepts and technologies are reshaping our understanding of the landscape of HIV persistence.
  • The emerging biology and pathophysiology of HIV co-morbidities. How persistent infection affects life and health span of people living with HIV. From the molecular biology of tissue immunity and the causes of chronic immune activation to exploring the consequences of living with HIV into older age.

Clinical research

Track B will focus on clinical care of people with HIV, highlighting the controversies and complexities of clinical treatment and management with a particular focus on antiretroviral therapy. Attention will be paid to vulnerable populations, such as young people and women, including transgender women, where HIV incidence remains high. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) remain an important additional focus against a background of ageing populations living with HIV. Latest clinical research will be presented on:

  • Antiretroviral therapy and strategies for cure
    1. Investigational antiretroviral drugs: existing and new mechanistic classes (for example, nucleoside reverse transcriptase translocation inhibitor, entry inhibitors, capsid inhibitors, maturation inhibitors)
    2. New strategies: long-acting injectable regimens: implantable devices: dual (two-drug) therapies; weekly/intermittent regimens; same-day initiation; non-drug retention strategies
    3. Drug-related toxicities, drug-drug interactions; ARV-associated weight gain, its mechanism, management
    4. INSTIs in women, during pregnancy and in children
    5. Investigational immune-based therapies and gene therapy (for example, broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic vaccines, anti-PD-1 antibodies, TLR7-agonists, IL-15 superagonists and combinations of these agents)
  • HIV and ageing-related inflammation and immune activation, and related drug interactions. Malignancies and chronic diseases in people living with HIV at all ages; effects of NCDs on the ageing HIV population, including their prevention and management, as well as polypharmacy
  • Young people. Treatment adherence, drug resistance and engagement in and transitions in care
  • Co-infections
    1. Tuberculosis: novel diagnostic tools, treatment and prevention regimens
    2. Viral hepatitis: new treatment regimens for HCV and strategies to cure HBV infection
    3. Sexually transmitted infections: resurgence of syphilis and drug-resistant gonorrhoea and chlamydia
    4. Important key opportunistic infections and new emerging infections
    5. Antiretroviral drug interactions
    6. Efficacy and safety of specific vaccines in people living with HIV.

Epidemiology and prevention research

This track will address the development of new prevention tools, the delivery of currently available prevention strategies, and the impact of expanding prevention options on the global HIV epidemic. With expanded implementation of existing prevention tools, countries and cities are seeing sustained declines in new HIV infections. However, while there is tremendous global opportunity for HIV prevention in 2020, there are also substantial challenges. The UNAIDS 2019 Global Update revealed that HIV prevention services reached less than 50% of members of key populations in more than half of the countries that reported on prevention. The results of large-scale universal test and treat trials were not consistently positive in terms of reducing new HIV infections, highlighting prevention/treatment gaps.

For oral PrEP, insufficient uptake and adherence are key barriers to potential impact, and novel approaches to maximizing PrEP knowledge and use are clearly an essential need. HIV prevention interfaces strongly with sexual and reproductive health, and optimizing prevention success will require more comprehensive prevention. This includes: attention to prevention for pregnant and lactating women; the interaction between HIV prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections; and HIV prevention within a larger context of reproductive justice.

The HIV prevention successes that have been seen at scale are not being shared equally, with the greatest impacts to date occurring among men in urban centres of the global North. An important cross-cutting priority for this track is strategies to expand prevention success to those in the global South, adolescent girls and women, marginalized populations worldwide, people who use drugs and other key groups.

Finally, the success of HIV prevention implementation poses logistical challenges to testing new prevention modalities, and creative approaches to new trial designs are required. Areas of special interest include:

  • Treatment as prevention. Critical review of universal test and treat trials; optimized interventions to improve access and use by adolescents, key populations, men; improving U=U community awareness
  • PrEP implementation and development. Scale up and impact on global HIV epidemiology, with a focus on countries furthest ahead in oral PrEP delivery; strategies to simplify PrEP delivery and expand access; successes and challenges among important populations (men who have sex with men, transgender women, adolescents, young women); pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics of PrEP agents (including tenofovir alafenamide); new PrEP agents and delivery approaches (including injectables, long-acting formulations, implantables, vaginal rings, vaginal films and novel topical agents)
  • Broadly neutralizing antibodies and vaccines. Current state of trials and looking ahead to outcomes; anticipating realistic consideration of delivery challenges for these strategies
  • Integrated prevention approaches. Impact at scale of combination prevention delivery across settings; promising supportive interventions (for example, community-based delivery, lay health worker engagement, m-health applications) to facilitate scale up and access to prevention; evaluation of social, behavioural and structural interventions that address co-morbidities, including poor mental health and substance use
  • Key populations and the intersection with larger issues of sexual and reproductive health. Interface of prevention scale up and the global STI epidemic and strategies for STI prevention; PrEP options and choices, including analogies to contraceptive choice; drug interactions and engagement in prevention for transgender populations; new prevention interventions for drug users; HIV prevention in the context of contraceptive delivery and the interaction of hormonal contraception and HIV risk
  • Novel trial design and monitoring strategies. New trial designs for prevention studies, including those that model drug levels as a surrogate for efficacy; monitoring prevention impact using routine programmatic data; population-level assessment of HIV incidence; HIV phylogenetics for prevention monitoring and intervention; ethical and community considerations about new trial designs.

Social and behavioural research

This track will focus on the social and behavioural factors that influence HIV risk, vulnerability, clinical outcomes and intervention impact as assessed in rigorous scientific studies. Sessions in this track will present qualitative and quantitative assessments of social and behavioural factors influencing HIV epidemics and the responses to them. This includes: the effectiveness of treatment, care and support strategies for people living with HIV and HIV prevention methods for those at risk of HIV; structural interventions for HIV prevention and treatment, including advances in measuring and supporting adherence; and factors that promote or impede the translation of social, behavioural and structural evidence into practice at all levels (global, national, local, community and individual).

Attention will also be placed on ethical and human rights issues related to clinical trials. Submissions will be invited from the full range of social and behavioural science disciplines, including operational research by community-based implementers who are translating results of sociobehavioural research into programme practice. Latest conceptual thinking and empirical results are specifically expected in relation to:

  • Social capital, social movements and health-enabling contexts for marginalized communities
  • Resilience, community systems strengthening and effective strategies in overcoming stigma
  • Experiences of stigma, and measurement and evaluations of interventions that reduce or mitigate its effects
  • Perceptions of risk/vulnerability and links to sexual behaviours and prevention practices, for example, PrEP uptake, adherence and persistence
  • Personal and public health approaches towards attitudes and behaviours associated with increased vulnerability to HIV, such as chemsex, sex work and multiple concurrent sexual partners
  • Quality of integrated service provision and uptake, including differentiated models of delivery and implications for quality and health outcomes
  • Pathways to care, retention and adherence for HIV co-infections and co-morbidities, such as mental health, TB preventative therapy and harm reduction
  • Redress/reparations in response to structural issues (discrimination, violence, other human rights violations)
  • Ethical considerations in relation to research, including the involvement of certain communities in clinical trials (such as pregnant and lactating women, people living with HIV, people with TB and transgender women)
  • Innovations in community-driven solutions, including entrepreneurship and livelihoods approaches, as well as evidence generated from participatory and action research methods.

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

Implementation science is an emerging and powerful field focused on evaluating processes of translating scientific evidence into impactful HIV interventions and on the various factors affecting these processes. It is key to demonstrating how interventions proven to be efficacious in trial settings succeed and can be implemented more effectively under different real-world conditions. These trial settings include ART for those living with HIV, clean needles and substitution therapies to prevent HIV transmission among people who inject drugs, and condom use or PrEP for those vulnerable to HIV acquisition.

While implementation science can provide insight into particular elements of intervention packages that are essential, the sustainability of these interventions is driven by econometric measures and the ability to practically integrate into existing health systems. Although interest in implementation research and econometric assessments focused on HIV has increased significantly, gaps in applying the full range of available qualitative, quantitative and modelling methods and tools in the HIV field remain.

Track E will help close these gaps with a focus on promoting a balance of contextually specific and standardized approaches of implementation science, econometric study and health systems research to enhance interpretation, transferability and assessment of sustainability. Specific emphasis will be on: better ways of describing strategies for operationalizing evidence-based interventions and evaluating their sustainability; evaluating best-practice methodologies; assessing different stages of implementation; identifying key drivers (capacities) needed for change; deploying relevant implementation teams at different levels of the health system; and using measurable quality improvement cycles and policy-practice communication approaches.

Key areas of interest include:

  • Novel methods and tools, including: use of econometric methods versus randomized trials; applying qualitative approaches to broader implementation problems; and bringing adaptivity and network analysis into the research framework to generate data that is more relevant for practice
  • Improving modelling by: using large-scale public datasets to model macroscopic health, costs and social effects of global HIV policies and investments; using the transportability framework to elucidate understanding of both scientific findings and how they are used to shape the global public health response to the HIV epidemic; and integrating implementation considerations and costs into modelling of strategies for effective and cost-effective policies and practices in the HIV response
  • New opportunities and ethical and practical factors associated with research embedded in public health systems, community, religious organizations, etc.
  • M-Health. Advances in implementation science and cost effectiveness related to the use of ICT in delivering HIV interventions; using m-Health for deeper reach to enhance generalizability to desired target populations; and m-Health as an implementation research tool
  • Adapting research to serve programmatic needs. Studies into health systems and local contexts to support local and national programmes in identifying opportunities to reduce HIV incidence using available tools.

Political research, law, policy and human rights

This track will focus on describing the interdependence of structural factors that enhance or detract from accessing services and impact differently on high-risk groups and communities left behind in the HIV response. The importance of understanding the “relative impact” of access and retention for each population is a critical ingredient for maximizing positive outcomes on the target population. Sessions in this track provide opportunities to demonstrate best practices and highlight needed reforms from a wide range of perspectives, including community-led interventions to remove structural, legal and policy barriers to comprehensive HIV services, particularly for the most underserved, unreached, left behind and marginalized communities. Research talks, debates and panels will focus on:

  • Understanding the variable access to prevention, care and treatment services for different groups vulnerable to HIV
  • Structural and programmatic methods to address inequities in access/retention for marginalized groups
  • The role of legal, policy and advocacy tools to integrate human rights principles and standards into HIV prevention, care and treatment services
  • Demonstrating mechanisms/strategies that ensure community inclusion in planning, allocation decisions and implementation of HIV services
  • The role of diplomacy in defining and correcting structural, legal and cultural barriers to services
  • Strategies for delivering comprehensive services to marginalized communities in settings where sexual/gender identity, HIV exposure and/or transmission, choice of abortion and drug use or injection are criminalized
  • Integrating HIV services into a sustainable, resilient and inclusive service package for universal health coverage.

Call for abstracts

We encourage work that introduces new ideas, concepts and research and deepens understanding in the field, as well as analyses of both successes and failures. Please read the following guidelines carefully before submitting your abstract:

  • Abstracts can be submitted only online via the Conference account on our website, aids2020.org. Submissions by fax, post or email will not be considered.
  • All abstracts must be written in English.
  • It is the author’s responsibility to submit an abstract with the correct wording. Any errors in spelling, grammar or scientific fact in the abstract text will be reproduced exactly as typed by the author. Abstract titles will be subject to a spellcheck if the abstract is selected for presentation.

Late-breaker abstracts

A small number of late-breaker abstracts will be accepted for oral or poster presentation at the conference.

The late-breaker abstract submission will be open from 1 to 15 April 2020. Late-breaker submissions must introduce data of unquestioned significance that meet a high threshold of scientific merit.

During abstract submission, authors will have to justify why their abstract should be considered as a late breaker. The same submission rules apply for late-breaker abstracts as for regular abstracts, but each presenting author may only present one late-breaker abstract at the conference.

The percentage of abstracts selected for late breakers will depend on the number of submissions, but selection will be far more rigorous than for regular abstracts.

Questions

  • For technical questions regarding the abstract submission system, please contact the abstract support team at abstracts@aids2020.org.
  • For general questions regarding abstracts, please see the FAQ page.

Policies for abstract submission

Abstracts should not include libellous or defamatory content. Material presented in abstracts should not violate any copyright laws. If figures, graphics and/or images have been taken from sources not copyrighted by the author, it is the author’s sole responsibility to secure the rights from the copyright holder in writing to reproduce those figures, graphics and/or images for both worldwide print and web publication. The author must bear all reproduction costs charged by the copyright holder.

Conference embargo policy

As is the case with most scientific and medical conferences, abstracts from AIDS 2020 are released to delegates and media under a strict embargo policy. A detailed breakdown of the embargo policies for different types of abstracts is available here. All conference delegates, presenters and media agree to respect this policy.

Abstract submission process

Conference account

Authors must create a conference account to submit an abstract. More than one abstract can be submitted through a conference account. After an abstract has been created, modifications can be made until 14 January 2020, 23:59 Central European Time.

Choosing a track category

The track category is the general heading under which the abstract will be reviewed and later published in the conference materials, if accepted. The track category that best describes the subject of the abstract should be chosen. During the submission process, you will be asked to select one track category for your abstract.

Abstract structure

The conference offers two options for abstract submission:

Option 1

This is suited for research conducted in all disciplines. Abstracts submitted under Option 1 should contain concise statements of:

  • Background: Indicate the purpose and objective of the research, the hypothesis that was tested, or a description of the problem being analysed or evaluated.
  • Methods: Describe the study period, setting and location, study design, study population, data collection and methods of analysis used.
  • Results: Present as clearly and in as much detail as possible the findings and/or outcomes of the study. Please disaggregate data by age and gender where possible and summarize any specific results.
  • Conclusions: Explain the significance of your study’s findings and/or outcomes for HIV prevention, treatment, care and/or support and future implications of the results.

The following review criteria will be used in scoring abstracts submitted under Option 1:

  1. Is there a clear background and justified objective?
  2. Is the methodology and/or study design appropriate for the objectives?
  3. Are the results important and clearly presented?
  4. Are the conclusions supported by the results?
  5. Is the study original and does it contribute to the field?

Option 2

This is suited for lessons learned through programme, project or policy implementation or management. Abstracts submitted under Option 2 should contain concise statements of:

  • Background: Summarize the purpose, scope and objectives of the programme, project or policy.
  • Description: Describe the programme, project or policy period, setting and location, the structure, key population (if applicable) and activities and interventions undertaken in support of the programme, project or policy.
  • Lessons learned: Present as clearly and in as much detail as possible the findings and/or outcomes of the programme, project or policy. Include an analysis or evaluation of lessons learned and best practices. Please summarize any specific results that support your lessons learned and best practices.
  • Conclusions/next steps: Explain the significance of the findings and/or outcomes of the programme, project or policy for HIV prevention, treatment, care and/or support and future implications of the results.

The following review criteria will apply to abstracts submitted under Option 2:

  1. Is there a clear background and justified objective?
  2. Is the programme, project or policy design and implementation appropriate for the objectives?
  3. Are the lessons learned or best practices important, supported by the findings and clearly presented?
  4. Are the conclusions/next steps supported by the results and are they feasible?
  5. Is the work reported original and does it contribute to the field?

Disaggregated sex and other demographic data in abstracts

Authors are encouraged to provide a breakdown of data by sex and other demographics, such as age, geographic region, race/ethnicity and/or other relevant demographic characteristics in submitted abstracts, when appropriate. Your abstract should include the number and percentage of men and women (and additional breakdown by gender, age and/or ethnicity if appropriate) who participated in your research or project, and results should be disaggregated by sex/gender and other relevant demographics. Analyses of any gender-based differences or any other differences between sub-populations should be provided in the Results or Lessons learned sections, if relevant.

Font

A standard font, such as Arial, should be used when formatting the text. This helps prevent special characters from getting lost when copying the text to the online abstract submission form. Ensure that you check the final abstract with the system’s preview function before submission, and edit or replace as necessary.

Word limits

The abstract is limited to 350 words. Titles are limited to 30 words.

A maximum of two tables and/or graphs in total can be included. A graph/image (in JPG, GIF or PNG, ideally at least 600dpi) counts as 50 words and a table counts as five words per row (50 words maximum).

Common reasons for abstract rejection:

  • Abstract poorly written
  • Not enough new information
  • Clear objective and/or hypothesis missing
  • Linkage between different parts of the abstract not comprehensible
  • Duplicate or overlap with another abstract
  • Study, project, programme or policy too preliminary or insufficient to draw conclusions
  • Study, project, programme or policy lack of originality.

Reasons for abstract rejection (specific to Option 1):

  • Methods (either quantitative or qualitative) inadequate and/or insufficient to support conclusions
  • Summary of essential results inadequate and/or missing.

Reasons for abstract rejection (specific to Option 2):

  • Description inadequate and/or insufficient to support conclusions
  • Lessons learned inadequate and/or missing.

Recommendations

  • Abstracts should disclose primary findings and avoid, whenever possible, promissory statements, such as “experiments are in progress” or “results/lessons learned will be discussed”.
  • If English is not your native language, have your abstract reviewed by a native English speaker before submission.
  • The IAS offers an Abstract Mentor Programme for less experienced submitters. Please see further information below.

Submission confirmation

After submission of the abstract, a confirmation email will be sent to the abstract submitter. In order to receive confirmation, please ensure that emails from abstracts@aids2020-abstracts.org are not marked as spam by your email provider.

Abstract review and selection process

Abstract review
All submitted abstracts will go through a blind peer-review process carried out by international reviewers. Each abstract will be reviewed by at least three reviewers.

Abstract selection
Abstracts can be selected for oral presentation or as a poster. A small number are selected for oral poster discussions; the majority of the posters will be displayed in the poster exhibition.

Notification of acceptance or rejection to corresponding author
Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent to the submitting (corresponding) author by end of March. Please note that only the corresponding author will receive an email concerning the abstract; this author is responsible for informing all co-authors of the status of the abstract. Authors whose abstracts have been accepted will receive instructions for the presentation of their abstract.

Rule of two
Each presenting author may present a maximum of two abstracts at the conference. The number of submissions is, however, not limited. Should an author have more than two abstracts accepted for presentation, a co-author must be named as presenting author for one or more abstracts.

In addition, each presenting author may also present one late-breaker abstract at the conference.

Publication of accepted abstracts

The submission of the abstracts constitutes the authors’ consent for publication. If the abstract is accepted, the authors agree that their abstracts are published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence. The licence allows third parties to share the published work (copy, distribute, transmit) and to adapt it for any purposes, under the condition that AIDS 2020 and authors are given credit and that in the event of reuse or distribution, the terms of this licence are made clear. Authors retain the copyright of their abstracts, with first publication rights granted to the IAS.

Accepted abstracts may, therefore, be published on IAS websites and publications, such as the AIDS 2020 online conference programme and other conference materials, the IAS abstract archive and the Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS).

Co-submissions

If you are hosting a pre-conference or workshop leading up to AIDS 2020 and will be inviting authors to present abstracts at your event, you may wish to consider applying for co-submission with AIDS 2020. If co-submission is approved, selected abstracts may be presented at your event and at AIDS 2020 without breaking the embargo policy even though your event will take place before the conference.

To apply for co-submission of abstracts with AIDS 2020, your event should meet the following conditions:

  • The event must be closed:
    • Delegates will attend the event on an invite-only or paid-registration basis (that is, sessions are not open to the general public).
    • Media representatives are not invited or they must agree to comply with the AIDS 2020 embargo policy.
    • Any sessions involving co-submitted abstracts that will be recorded, must comply with the AIDS 2020 embargo policy.
  • A final list of abstracts presented at the event must be shared with the organizers of AIDS 2020 in advance.
  • Authors must submit their abstract using the AIDS 2020 submission system if they wish to be considered for inclusion in AIDS 2020.

In addition, although not mandatory, for events that meet the conditions, it is highly recommended that organizers apply for AIDS 2020 Affiliated Independent Event status.

If you wish to apply for co-submission, please contact us at abstract@aids2020.org. The deadline to apply for co-submission is 31 March 2020.