Community Development Health

Coronavirus: 23rd International AIDS Conference to be held virtually

The health and safeguarding of the community are of the highest priority to leaders of the AIDS Conference. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020), to be held on 6-10 July 2020, will become the first virtual edition of the International AIDS Conference, the organisers gave said.

AIDS 2020: Virtual 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 decision was informed by advice from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, leading global and local health authorities, and people living with HIV around the globe. In particular, we are acutely aware that there is not yet sufficient data on whether people living 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.

Anton Pozniak, MD, the President of International AIDS Society and AIDS 2020 International Chair from the United Kingdom; Cynthia Carey-Grant, the AIDS 2020 Local Co-Chair from the United States of America, and Monica Gandhi MD, MPH, the AIDS 2020 Local Co-Chair from the United States of America jointly signed the decision people as outlined below:

Furthermore, many of those who were 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.

AIDS 2020: Virtual will continue to shine a spotlight on our host cities, San Francisco and Oakland, exploring the tale of these two cities through science, innovation and activism, while underscoring the Bay Area’s dedication to health equity in its “Ending the HIV Epidemic” initiatives.

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. The theme of this year’s conference is Resilience and there is no better word to describe the HIV community and our ability to come together in a shared commitment to the global HIV response.

Registered delegates will be contacted directly in due course with further information on the new, reduced pricing structure. Details about the virtual programme will be shared in the coming weeks. Please visit AIDS 2020: Virtual for more information.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende