What Goes on at an AIDS Conference?

Written by | HIV, Wellness

We often hear about the outcomes of AIDS conferences: Research results, promising treatment options, intriguing statistics, potential ways to work with people more effectively, even possible cures. But what goes on at an AIDS conference before the headline-making news is released?

AIDS Conference

Let’s take, as an example, the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, which was held July 19–22 in Vancouver. Billed as “the largest open scientific conference on HIV/AIDS related issues,” it aimed to gather about 6,000 delegates from across the globe.

Several notable themes were addressed at IAS 2015. One was the importance of ensuring access to both PrEP (for all who want it) and HIV treatment (for all who need it). Another hot topic was a recent study that showed “no evidence of HIV transmission from people with fully suppressed viral load to their partners” — a ringing endorsement of the treatment-as-prevention model. A third was the potential for nonmedical providers to offer HIV testing as a way to get more people tested — and how to make sure those receiving results from such providers still get the necessary counseling and treatment.

As is often the case, some of the more interesting information came out of workshops focused on very specific topics. (I have known people to actually switch the focus of their careers after attending a workshop at a conference.) Workshops from this year’s IAS included: “Implementing and Evaluating HIV-related Stigma Mitigation Interventions,” “How Would You Like Your PrEP?” and “TRANS-forming Health Care: Challenges and Advancements in the Development and Access to Comprehensive Transgender Health Care.”

To learn more about IAS and other important AIDS-related conferences, see aids.gov/news-and-events/conferences.

Last modified: June 11, 2018