International AIDS Society

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 covers research into the interaction between host and pathogen with the intent of informing novel approaches to HIV prevention, reduction in long-term morbidities, eradication and functional cure. An express objective of this track is to allow cross-fertilization and rapid communication of critical advances or insights in basic science to inform translation into and implementation of new paradigms in treatment, prevention and surveillance, thus bridging the gap between basic, clinical and epidemiological research. This track will provide a forum for presentation and critical review of advances in our understanding of the:
  • relative contributions of viral factors, (e.g. viral determinants, including viral diversity, replicative capacity and load) and host factors (e.g. restriction factors, mucosal environments, immune responses) to transmission and the establishment of infection.
  • advances in vaccine, microbicides and ART as prevention strategies in terms of targets, delivery systems and mechanisms of action, including modulation of innate and adaptive host responses.
  • interplay between virus and host factors, both innate and adaptive, in determining pathogenesis and disease progression or in controlling virus replication and influencing the establishment and maintenance of virus reservoirs.
  • mechanisms and the impact of ongoing inflammation and immune activation driven by a) the virus; b) damage to and activation of the host immune system; c) and ongoing co-infections on long term AIDS and non-AIDS related morbidities, as well as on viral production.
  • methods to assess the establishment and maintenance of the viral reservoir and strategies to impact upon it.

This track will also provide a forum for reporting new mechanisms involved in host-virus relationships in a range of model systems, informing a) the development of simplified or enhanced diagnostics, novel prognostic markers and/or epidemiological methodologies for HIV and its related co-infections, which may serve as future markers for monitoring disease progression or clinical trials; b) the rapid translation of these basic biological observations into novel interventions that can be iteratively tested in models or human populations with due consideration of the ethical implications of any experimental interventions.

Track B: Clinical Research

Track B Clinical Science focuses on the implementation of sustaining the long-term goals of HIV care, treatment and therapeutic prevention. Track B highlights the latest research findings into new antiretroviral drugs and antiretroviral strategies, novel adjuvant therapies for HIV infection, and strategies for promoting long term health in HIV, through optimization of the prevention, screening and management of non-communicable diseases. It focuses on the complexities and controversies related to long term management of the virologically suppressed individual and the impact of therapies on HIV reservoirs, pharmacokinetics, drug interactions, adherence to treatment, treatment simplification and drug resistance. It explores the pathogenesis of co-morbidities, and the interactions between HIV and other chronic non-communicable diseases on a global level. Approaches to treatment, care and support among all people at risk of, vulnerable to, or living with HIV are addressed (including drug users and sex workers), as well as innovations related to the implementation of models of HIV care in resource-limited settings.

Track B forges links between the basic science and prevention tracks and includes the latest research in the Treatment as Prevention strategy and discussions on the ethical and human rights issues related to implementation of recent clinical research findings. The important synergies between basic science and clinical research are examined for their application to HIV treatment and care, and approaches to functional cure.

Track C: Epidemiology and Prevention Research

This track will focus on the dynamics of the HIV epidemic, and the design, implementation and evaluation of the impact of HIV prevention interventions and programmes. Track C will also include discussions on ethical and human rights issues related to epidemiological and prevention research.

Epidemiology: sessions in this track will encompass the full spectrum of methodological and technological advances including study designs, surveillance, molecular epidemiology, mathematical modeling and good participatory practice. It will include methods to assess HIV transmission dynamics and track epidemics and their impact, including approaches tailored to epidemics that are heading towards elimination. This track will also include epidemiological studies in serodiscordant couples, key affected populations, youth, adolescents and the elderly. Factors that might influence HIV transmission and acquisition including hormonal contraception will also be considered.

Prevention: Track C will address HIV prevention research at both individual and population levels. Topics of particular interest include interdisciplinary and/or combined prevention approaches, efforts to promote preparedness, introduction of and adherence to biomedical prevention technologies. Work on prevention potential of new methods of HIV testing, diagnostic strategies, surveillance of antiretroviral drug resistance, combination prevention, prevention of co-morbidities pre-exposure prophylaxis, adult and neonatal circumcision approaches and devices, microbicides, vaccines, prevention of HIV transmission from HIV-positive individuals including the prevention benefits of antiretroviral treatment, use of electronic and new media, and other methods will be highlighted. Particular interest will be given to highlighting evidence and experience of successful prevention interventions in key populations such as people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, prisoners, migrant and vulnerable populations. Structural interventions for HIV prevention will be discussed.

Track D: Social and Political Research, Law, Policy and Human Rights

Track D focuses on a) research and analysis of social, political, legal and human rights factors influencing HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; and b) evaluation of policies, programmes, services and other interventions impacting on social, political, legal and human rights environments and outcomes.

More specifically, this track covers:
  • research on individual, social and structural determinants of HIV risk, vulnerability and impact, particularly among disproportionately burdened populations;
  • qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods process, outcome and impact evaluations of individual, community and structural interventions aiming to address social, political, legal and human rights factors and environments;
  • innovations in theoretical and methodological approaches in social, political, legal and human rights research and interventions regarding HIV, including with respect to ethical issues;
  • translation of (multidisciplinary) research into policy and practice, including the establishment or strengthening of supportive and enabling interventions, policies and laws.
Track D invites submissions from the full range of social (including behavioural) science disciplines - including sociology, anthropology, political science and psychology - as well as from legal and human rights scholars and analysts, social-epidemiologists, and evaluation researchers. This track also welcomes submissions from programme implementers who are engaged in evaluation or research examining the translation of social and political science, and legal, policy and human rights frameworks into practice. Researchers and programme implementers examining the behavioral, social, political, legal, policy and human rights implications and impacts of scientific advances, including new and emerging HIV treatment and prevention technologies, are also invited to submit abstracts to Track D.

Track E: Implementation Research, Economics, Systems and Synergies with other Health and Development Sectors

The role of Track E is to increase our understanding of how HIV prevention, treatment and care, can be effectively and efficiently offered in a manner that is accessible and acceptable to individuals, families, communities, and governments, and makes effective use of human, financial and other resources. Track E places HIV in the broader context of health systems and human development.

This track examines the impact of HIV policy and programmes on HIV outcomes, health and development at sub-national, national or regional levels. Within this broad area, Track E has particular emphases on a) country ownership and sustainability; b) integrating HIV responses within a broader health and development framework and approaches to HIV, health and rights; and c) key populations that carry a disproportionately large HIV burden and receive a disproportionately small amount of the investment in the HIV response.

Track E is a forum for presenting research and progress on a) scale up and sustainability of HIV prevention, care and treatment programmes; b) integration of HIV prevention, treatment and care with other health and development programmes in generalized epidemics; and c) HIV prevention, treatment and care in new or challenging settings such as conflict or extremely limited resources. Consideration of various ethical and human rights issues related to the delivery of prevention, treatment and care should be included as an integral part of the presentation.

Also included in Track E is an examination of the role and effectiveness of community structures and participation (with a special interest in youth and key population participation) and community led approaches, both as issues in their own right, and in regard to their relationship to the broader health sector response to HIV.

An additional focal area of Track E is research on improving sustainability of resource allocation for HIV programmes. Health systems capacity, functioning, financing, equity and cost analyses, budgetary impact analyses and cost-effectiveness analyses are included in this track.