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 will focus on basic and translational research related to HIV biology, pathogenesis, immunology, prevention and cure. Emphasis will be on specific topics, including viral factors that influence pathogenesis, systemic inflammation and immune function, new targets for therapeutic or prophylactic intervention, and host restriction factors that suppress viral replication and how these can be harnessed for therapeutic or prophylactic benefit. 

The track will also focus on the establishment and quantification of viral reservoirs, and strategies to eliminate latency and induce long term HIV remission, including the effects of very early ART in adults and infants, the development of new latency reversing agents and the effects of immune activation on HIV persistence. In addition, Track A will focus on the biology, immunology and pathogenesis of co-infections including TB, Cryptococcus, HBV, HCV and non-AIDS comorbidities. 

Track A will also place a major focus on HIV immunology in the context of natural infection and natural resistance to infection as well as in the context of vaccination and other prevention modalities. This will include delineation of pathways for the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies, and how these can be generated by active immunization or delivered as passive or genetic immunization. Advances in structural biology of HIV will be highlighted, with an emphasis on translation of this information to effective immunogens to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies. Novel approaches that advance the development of effective T cell based vaccines will be emphasized. The immunologic and virologic effects of therapeutic vaccines and novel immunomodulators will also be addressed. Particular emphasis will be on the use of systems biologic approaches to define how the immune system works in concert. This will include new approaches to define cellular heterogeneity at a single cell level and its impact on immune function and new technologies for quantifying immune function in the context of infection and vaccination.

Track B: Clinical Research

With global goals to achieve 90-90-90 treatment targets, more clinically oriented research is needed on the second and third steps in the cascade that seek to successfully link people living with HIV into care, initiate treatment, and ensure adherence and program retention to achieve virologic suppression. As treatment guidelines expand treatment eligibility criteria to treating all infants, children, adolescents, and adults, the imperative to move people into care and retain them in programs will exponentially grow. In order to maximize treatment coverage, antiretroviral therapy (ART) strategies must be innovative, simple, and acceptable by key populations. Optimizing chronic HIV care increasingly requires the integration of screening and management of co-infections and co-morbidities into HIV service delivery models. 

Track B will highlight the latest research findings, complexities and controversies related to immediate and long-term management of: HIV infection; ART; opportunistic infections and co-infections, including TB, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections; co-morbidities, including AIDS- and non-AIDS-defining cancers, and cardiovascular, renal, and bone toxicities and complications. Issues for discussion related to ART will include new data on existing antiretrovirals, novel drugs, combinations, and delivery mechanisms, the impact of therapies on HIV reservoirs, drug resistance, adherence, and treatment simplification. 

Approaches to treatment, care and support for people across the age spectrum who are at risk of, vulnerable to, or living with HIV - and especially adolescents and those from key populations - will be addressed. Scientific sessions describing innovations related to the delivery and management of HIV care in resource-limited settings will be a high priority. The need for comprehensive approaches for support of women living with HIV and of young women in particular will be another major focus. Track B also will include discussions on ethical and human rights issues related to clinical research, as well as synergies with both basic and implementation science.

Track C: Epidemiology and Prevention Research

This track will focus on epidemiology and HIV prevention science research. It will cover methodological, technological (in its broadest sense), and programmatic advances in these research disciplines. Best practice in Good Participatory Practice and best practice in HIV prevention at the individual and population levels will be considered. 

Current areas of special interest include: biomedical and behavioral prevention approaches; social, behavioural and communication sciences relevant to HIV prevention; efforts to promote preparedness and introduction of proven biomedical prevention technologies, and strategies to improve adherence to biomedical and behavioral prevention technologies. Track C will also focus on feasibility, acceptability and population selection for PrEP introduction, adult and neonatal circumcision, including the use of mathematical models to optimize public health impacts of programs; uptake, adherence and introduction of microbicides, vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. 

The Track also encourages submissions of abstracts relating to prevention of HIV transmission interventions; introduction of early and effective treatment to reduce HIV transmission; test and treat; and use of ‘mHealth’ technologies and other methods for HIV prevention. The track will also focus on HIV prevention for groups at highest risk for HIV infection, including young women, maternal-child dyads, sero-discordant couples, sex workers, MSM, injecting and non-injecting drug users, vulnerable ethnic groups and people living in geographically higher risk areas.

Still under the HIV prevention science research theme, this track will address considerations for changing standards of prevention during HIV prevention trials with the emergence of new prevention technologies, and how trial designs can adapt to these required changes. Structural interventions for HIV prevention (for example, but not limited to, interventions that focus on gender-based violence, cash transfers and poverty) are of particular interest. Factors that might influence HIV transmission and acquisition, such as STIs and hormonal contraception, will also be considered. 

Other topics of interest are advances in epidemiologic methods such as advances in surveillance, molecular epidemiology, mathematical modeling, changes in the epidemiology of HIV infection in countries or regions, GIS mapping and genomics mapping of patterns of HIV transmission at community and sub-national levels.

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

Track D focuses on research and analysis of social, political, law, policy, human rights factors, and stigma and discrimination influencing HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. The topics and issues to be covered in this AIDS 2016 track will highlight the critical intersection of these factors across disciplines with biomedical, behavioral and epidemiological sciences; and present ways in which social, political, legal, human rights, and stigma and discrimination issues impact – and are impacted by – policies, programs, services and other interventions. Track D invites submissions from the full range of social and behavioural sciences – including sociology, anthropology, political science and psychology – as well as from legal and human rights scholars and analysts, social epidemiologists, and evaluation researchers. 

Track D sessions will include the latest research, debates and dialogues on: 

  • Individual, social and structural determinants of HIV risk, vulnerability and impact, and how these factors also influence the uptake and sustained use of HIV care, treatment and prevention, 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 create enabling environments for implementation; 
  • Innovations in theoretical and methodological approaches in social, political, legal, and human rights research and interventions regarding HIV, including consideration of ethical issues; and
  • Translation of multidisciplinary research into policy and practice, including the establishment or strengthening of supportive and enabling interventions, policies and laws. 

Given updated treatment, prevention and non-discrimination targets, this track will be central to elaborate how policy makers, implementers and civil society can translate these goals into reality. Leading human rights researchers and advocates will also reflect on the current state of legal affairs that both inhibit and facilitate further progress towards the ambitious call to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.

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

The role of Track E is to highlight research that increases our understanding of how HIV prevention, treatment and care can be delivered in a manner that achieves desired impact, optimizes quality, is accessible and acceptable to individuals, families, communities and governments, and makes efficient use of human, financial and other resources. 

Track E places HIV in the broader context of health systems and human development, and examines the positive or negative impacts of various HIV policy alternatives and HIV programmes on HIV-related outcomes, population health and well-being, and economic development at sub-national, national, regional levels. 

Track E raises issues in need of further investigation in the areas of scale up and sustainability of HIV prevention, care and treatment programmes, and further integration with other health and development agendas. 
Track E addresses these general topics with particular attention to: a) populations disproportionately affected by HIV; b) setting-specific considerations (e.g., war and conflict, extreme poverty, political repression, criminalization, etc.); c) innovative supply-side approaches to delivering HIV services; d) cost and resource allocation issues and decision processes; e) science of scale-up of programs, f) translation of scientific and programmatic findings into policy, g) dynamics of health systems and other development sectors; h) community and stakeholder engagement; and i) ethics and equity. 

Implementation science studies using rigorous methods to evaluate interventions and policies are encouraged, as are studies using population-level data.