The 23rd International AIDS Conference (IAC 2020) to be held 6-10 July 2020 in San Francisco and Oakland under the theme “Resilience” will be the first virtual edition of the IAC since it started in 1985. The IAC is the premier global platform to advance the HIV response, is the world’s largest conference on HIV and AIDS and sits uniquely at the intersection of science, advocacy and human rights, bringing together scientists, policy makers, healthcare professionals, people living with HIV, funders, media and community.
The decision hold the IAC 2020 as the very first virtual was reached in the knowledge that there is not yet sufficient data on whether people living with HIV (PLHIV) are more susceptible to COVID-19 or more likely to develop severe diseases and in understanding that the IAS has a special obligation to reduce any potential risk to the HIV community, and protect PLHIV and those working on combating COVID-19.
The virtual IAC 2020 will enable delegates to access and engage with the latest HIV Science, advocacy and knowledge traditionally presented at the 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.
The President of the IAS Anton Pozniak said the decision to go virtual was informed by advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), leading global and health authorities and PLHIV around the globe. He said many of those planning to attend are now working on the front lines in the response to 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 at a critical time in the response to the pandemic,” he added.
The President highlighted that IAC 2020 will continue to shine a spotlight on host cities, exploring the tale of the cities through science, innovation and activism. “Our commitment to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing global health landscape and to persevere in the face of uncertainty is stronger than ever,” he guaranteed. He said the IAC 2020 theme, “Resilience” could not be more relevant in describing the HIV community and its ability to come together in a shared commitment to the global HIV response.