HIV conferences cancelled amid global pandemic
Three HIV conferences due to take place this Spring/Summer have been cancelled as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world.
Both the International AIDS Society (IAS) AIDS 2020 conference in San Francisco, scheduled for July, and the HIV 2020 conference on the same dates in Mexico City have been cancelled. The British HIV Association (BHIVA) has also taken the decision to cancel their April conference in Manchester, UK.
The reasons for cancellation are two-fold. One, the medical and voluntary sectors must set a good example when it comes to avoiding mass gatherings. And two, many of those who would have been attending the conference are now working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
All three conference organisers are planning to host their events fully or partially online allowing attendees to still participate or learn from the safety of their home or workplace.
The IAS said in a statement:
The health and safeguarding of our community is our highest priority. 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.
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.
HIV 2020's announcement said:
HIV2020 organizers are still exploring alternatives to a face-to-face meeting. This may include virtual sessions (i.e., pre-recorded keynote addresses from leaders in the field, live-streamed panel presentations led by community advocates and community-led service providers, and virtual discussion rooms) aligned with the HIV2020 themes of affinity, intersectionality, and solidarity. Alternatives to a face-to-face meeting will most certainly shine a spotlight on the critical role communities have and must continue to play in the global HIV response.
BHIVA's statement reads:
BHIVA has continued to closely monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and following the latest government advice the decision has been taken to cancel the Spring Conference. Despite the fact that we were ready to move to an entirely virtual event again, that has also now become untenable.
Although making any future plans feels impossible we are intending to provide a 1 day virtual Spring Event online for BHIVA members within the next few weeks. This will include some pre-recorded elements and the postponed Best of CROI with an interactive session for those can spare a couple of hours to participate. Full details will be announced shortly.