How and why did conference organizers make the decision to host a virtual conference in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Our decision, informed by advice from the WHO, UNAIDS, CDC and leading global and local health authorities, was based on the following considerations:
- We are acutely aware that there is not yet sufficient data on whether people with HIV are more susceptible to COVID-19 or more likely to develop severe disease. Therefore, we have a special obligation to reduce any potential risk to the HIV community.
- Many of those who were planning to attend the conference are now working on the front lines in the effort against COVID-19 around the world. We have a responsibility to not put any of these individuals – or their home communities – at risk nor redirect their efforts in the midst of the pandemic.
- The trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown and it remains unclear when it will be safe, permissible and logistically possible to hold an in person international conference of this size.
Why aren’t you holding an in-person conference at a later date?
We are committed to ensuring that AIDS 2020 delegates have access to and can engage with the latest HIV science, advocacy and knowledge. The trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown and it remains unclear when it will be safe, permissible and logistically possible to hold an international conference of this size. Now is not the time to postpone as the global HIV agenda remains an important one that requires our collective commitment. Now is the time to enable, to act and to reimagine the global conference format in order to drive impact and advance science, policy and community response.
Will AIDS 2020: Virtual take place during the same period (6-10 July 2020)?
Yes, AIDS 2020: Virtual will take place during the same week as originally planned, 6-10 July 2020.
What can I expect from the new virtual conference format?
AIDS 2020: Virtual will enable delegates to access and engage with the latest HIV science, advocacy and knowledge traditionally presented at the International AIDS Conference. It will be a compelling combination of virtual sessions and community networking, including exhibitions, workshops, the Global Village, satellites and pre-conferences, that will reach audiences around the world.
Will the plenary speakers and themes be the same as those announced in March?
Yes, you can expect the same plenary speakers as announced in March.
What will happen to the AIDS 2020 Volunteer Programme?
The AIDS 2020 Volunteer team thanks everyone who has submitted a volunteer application for AIDS 2020. The AIDS 2020 Volunteer team will be in contact with the volunteer applicants shortly.
Will I need special computer equipment, software or training to participate in the virtual conference?
You will not need special technologies or equipment to participate in AIDS 2020: Virtual. Our priority remains that the content of the conference is accessible around the world.
Will there be a virtual Global Village and Youth Programme?
Yes. Final selection of activities and sessions by the Global Village and Youth Programme working group is currently underway. You will be notified in early April if your submission has been accepted for presentation at AIDS 2020: Virtual. Once you have confirmed your participation, the AIDS 2020: Virtual Global Village and Youth Programme team will be in contact with you to discuss the virtual format and other options.
What will happen to hotel reservations?
Individual Bookings – all hotel reservations will be cancelled on your behalf by the AIDS 2020 Accommodation Team (c/o MCI USA). Your deposit will be fully refunded within 90-days from the official cancellation date of AIDS 2020 (by end of June 2020). Refunds are made in the same form that the payment was made. The current situation has caused a significant backlog and MCI USA will be processing individual refunds as quickly as possible. There is no further action required on your part; you will not need to request a cancellation of your hotel reservation – you will automatically receive an email confirming the cancellation in the next 7 days. Once your refund has been processed you will receive another email confirming this.
Group Bookings – all hotel reservations will be cancelled on your behalf by the AIDS 2020 Accommodation Team (c/o MCI USA). There is no further action on your part; you will not need to request a cancellation of your hotel reservation – you will receive an email from MCI USA in the next 7 days confirming cancellation of your block.
Thank you for your patience during this time. If you have any questions, please contact the AIDS 2020: Virtual Accommodation Team (c/o MCI USA) at [email protected]
How can I get updates about the virtual conference?
How do I register for AIDS 2020: Virtual?
All individual registrations for AIDS 2020: Virtual must be submitted through the online registration form. The updated online registration system will be live from Tuesday, 31 March.
For group registrations (five people or more), please nominate a representative to administer the group booking with the AIDS 2020: Virtual Registration team.
If I have already registered for the conference, is my registration still valid?
If you have already paid for your AIDS 2020 registration, you will be automatically registered for the virtual experience. Based on the new virtual registration fee structure, you will be refunded the difference between the amount you have paid and your applicable registration fee for AIDS 2020: Virtual.
I am a journalist registered to attend AIDS 2020, what happens to my registration?
As a media representative registered to attend the conference, you will have the same access you would have otherwise had at an in-person conference. Press briefings will also take place, albeit virtually. Our media team will communicate further information in due course.
Are media still able to register for AIDS 2020: Virtual?
Yes, media registration is free for qualified individuals who are attending AIDS 2020: Virtual in their capacity as journalists.
If I want to cancel my registration, what are the conditions?
If written notification of cancellation (including all relevant information regarding the bank account, if applicable) is received on or before 30 April 2020, 24:00 CET, 50% of the registration fee will be refunded.
No refund requests will be accepted after 30 April 2020. The cancellation will not be effective until a written acknowledgement from the AIDS 2020 Registration team is received.
Is AIDS 2020 still charging people the same amount to register as a delegate now that the conference is virtual?
Registration fees for AIDS 2020: Virtual will not be the same as the original pricing structure of the conference. There is no differentiation between early, standard and late fees. The revised fee structure for the virtual conference is published on the website with considerable reductions in delegate, student/young people and post-doctorate fees.
Why isn’t registration free?
We were happy to be able to cut registration fees by 50% after moving the conference to a virtual experience. To ensure AIDS 2020: Virtual remains the premiere global platform to advance the HIV response, it is necessary to retain some registration fees. These fees help cover the cost of translating the traditional in-person experience into a seamless virtual experience, including programme submission and reviewing, speaker support for producing hundreds of sessions for on-demand viewing, and 24-hour online-streaming services, staffing and support.
The AIDS 2020: Virtual Scholarship Programme enables over 1,700 persons from countries with low internet bandwidth to participate by removing the registration fee entirely and boosting participant’s internet speed for easy access to all conference content and features.
The Global Village and Youth Programme are free and open to the public. In recognition of these extraordinary times, registration to the IAS Virtual COVID-19 Conference, taking place on the last day of AIDS 2020: Virtual, is completely free of charge.
What if I applied for a Media Scholarship?
Registration is free of charge for all accredited media delegates. Other elements of your scholarship involving logistics to attend the conference are not applicable anymore. Please visit our registration page to get started.
I have already submitted an abstract. What happens now? If my abstract is accepted, how do I present it?
Final selection of abstracts by the Scientific Programme Committee is currently taking place. You will be notified in early April if your abstract is accepted for presentation at AIDS 2020: Virtual.
Once you have confirmed your presentation, we will be in touch with further instructions on how your abstract will be presented.
Can I still submit a late-breaker abstract?
The late-breaker submission period for AIDS 2020: Virtual has been shifted to open on 15 April and close on 14 May 2020 to allow more time for authors to submit research. We welcome late-breakers that address the implications of COVID-19 for the global HIV response.
Will the conference feature workshops?
The AIDS 2020: Virtual Workshop Programme will offer opportunities for online knowledge transfer, interactive skills development and global collaborative learning. You will be notified in early April if your workshop submission was selected.
Will there be a virtual Global Village and Youth Pavilion?
Yes. Final selection of activities and sessions by the Global Village and Youth Pavilion working group is currently underway. You will be notified in early April if your submission has been accepted for presentation at AIDS 2020: Virtual. Once you have confirmed your participation, the AIDS 2020: Virtual Global Village and Youth Pavilion team will be in contact with you to discuss the virtual format and other options.
I want to submit an abstract on HIV and COVID-19. Which conference should I submit it to?
Satellites, Exhibition and Pre-Conferences
Will there be virtual satellite symposia?
Yes. If you are a satellite organizer, the AIDS 2020: Virtual Satellite team will be in touch with you soon to discuss the virtual format.
If I want to cancel the satellite I am organizing, what are the conditions?
If the written notification of cancellation (including all relevant information regarding the bank account, if applicable) is received on or before 22 May 2020, 24:00 CET, 50% of the fee will be refunded. No refund requests will be accepted after 22 May 2020. The cancellation will not be effective until a written acknowledgement from the AIDS 2020 Satellite team is received.
Will there be virtual pre-conferences?
Yes, pre-conferences have always been an important component of the conference programme and will remain so, taking place in a virtual setting for the first time this year. If you are a pre-conference organizer, the AIDS 2020: Virtual Pre-Conference team will be in touch with you directly to share more information. Details on how to attend or sign up for a pre-conference will be announced in due course.
Will the conference feature an exhibition?
Yes, if you have booked an exhibition space or booth, the AIDS 2020 Exhibition team will be in contact with you soon to discuss the virtual format.
If I want to cancel my exhibition package, what are the conditions?
If the written notification of cancellation (including all relevant information regarding the bank account if applicable) is received on or before 22 May 2020, 24:00 CET, 50% of the fee will be refunded. No refund requests will be accepted after 22 May 2020. The cancellation will not be effective until a written acknowledgement from the AIDS 2020 Exhibition team is received.
When and where will the pre-conference meetings take place?
All pre-conference meetings that are part of the official 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020: Virtual) pre-conference programme will be held on our virtual platform from Tuesday, 30 June, to Friday, 3 July. AIDS 2020: Virtual will open on Monday, 6 July.
How many pre-conference meetings can I attend?
There is no limit to how many pre-conferences you can attend. You need to either be registered for AIDS 2020: Virtual or purchase a pre-conference week pass to access the pre-conference meetings.
Are all pre-conference meetings open for registered delegates?
Yes, anyone registered for AIDS 2020: Virtual can attend pre-conference meetings.
I am not attending AIDS 2020: Virtual. How do I register for just a pre-conference?
If you are not planning to attend the main conference, pre-conference week passes are available to purchase online on the conference registration page.
When does registration to attend pre-conferences close?
Registration for pre-conferences is open until the end of the pre-conference period.
Pre-conference pass and registration fees
I am registered for AIDS 2020: Virtual. How much does it cost to attend the pre-conference meetings?
Delegates registered for AIDS 2020: Virtual will have full access to all pre-conference meetings; this is included in their full conference registration.
I am not attending AIDS 2020: Virtual.How much does a week pass cost?
Pre-conference week passes are available for US$250.
What is included in the pre-conference week pass?
The pre-conference week pass includes full access to all the pre-conference meetings only, from June 30 to July 3.
Is it possible to purchase a pre-conference pass on the day of the session I want to attend?
Scholarships and financial support
I applied for a scholarship. Will it cover my attendance of a pre-conference?
The AIDS 2020 Scholarship Programme grants every recipient free access to all sessions, presentations, workshops and activities of AIDS 2020: Virtual. If you received a scholarship, you are automatically registered for the main conference and are free to attend all pre-conferences without any additional cost.
If you have further questions, please contact [email protected].
I need additional support to attend the pre-conference. Is there any financial support available?
Some pre-conferences may provide supplementary scholarships to encourage attendance at their meetings. You may contact the pre-conference organizers directly to enquire if these are available for the meeting you want to attend.
How are the conference organizers involved in the pre-conference meetings?
The International AIDS Conference organizers are involved only in streamlining the logistics of the pre-conferences. The pre-conference meeting organizers strictly independently manage all pre-conference registration, speaker invitations, programming and agendas.
I am attending the pre-conference meetings. What equipment will I need?
You will need a laptop, computer or smartphone to access the meetings.
How will attendees will be able to network and connect with fellow delegates?
Our virtual conference platforms offer a user experience very similar to an in-person conference. Dedicated virtual networking tools are an essential part of every virtual conference platform, allowing attendees to connect through one-on-one chats, group discussions and interactions during live sessions.
How are the meetings and sessions organized?
The pre-conference meetings will be a compelling combination of on-demand, semi-live and live sessions. These will take place throughout the pre-conference week. Please refer to the programme.
I missed a meeting or a session. Can I still watch this and take part?
Yes, you can watch all the pre-conference sessions on demand after the session has been hosted as part of the AIDS 2020: Virtual pre-conference programme.
How can I discuss the session with the speakers and organizers during the pre-conference meeting?
There will be many live elements to the pre-conferences with Q&As and possibilities to post questions via chat functions.