1. How and why did conference organizers make the decision to host a virtual conference in light of COVID - 19?
Our decision, informed by advice from the WHO, UNAIDS, CDC and leading global and local health authorities, was based on the following considerations:
We are acutely aware that there is not yet sufficient data on whether people 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.
Many of those who were planning to attend the conference are now working on the front lines in the effort against 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 in the midst of the pandemic.
The trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown and it remains unclear when it will be safe, permissible and logistically possible to hold an in person international conference of this size.
2. Why aren't you holding an in-person conference at a later date?
We are committed to ensuring that AIDS 2020 delegates have access to and can engage with the latest HIV science, advocacy and knowledge. The trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown and it remains unclear when it will be safe, permissible and logistically possible to hold an international conference of this size. Now is not the time to postpone as the global HIV agenda remains an important one that requires our collective commitment. Now is the time to enable, to act and to reimagine the global conference format in order to drive impact and advance science, policy and community response.
3. Will AIDS 2020 : Virtual take place during the same period pf 6th July to 10 July 2020?
Yes, AIDS 2020: Virtual will take place during the same week as originally planned, 6-10 July 2020.
4. What can I expect from the new virtual conference format?
AIDS 2020: Virtual will enable delegates to access and engage with the latest HIV science, advocacy and knowledge traditionally presented at the International AIDS 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.
5. Will the plenary speakers and themes be the same as announced in March?
Yes, you can expect the same plenary speakers as announced in March.
6. What will happen to the AIDS 2020 Volunteer Programme?
The AIDS 2020 Volunteer team thanks everyone who has submitted a volunteer application for AIDS 2020. The AIDS 2020 Volunteer team will be in contact with the volunteer applicants shortly.
7. Will I need special computer equipment, software or training to participate in the virtual conference?
You will not need special technologies or equipment to participate in AIDS 2020: Virtual. Our priority remains that the content of the conference is accessible around the world.
8. Will there be a virtual global village and youth pavilion?
Yes. Final selection of activities and sessions by the Global Village and Youth Pavilion working group is currently underway. You will be notified in early April if your submission has been accepted for presentation at AIDS 2020: Virtual. Once you have confirmed your participation, the AIDS 2020: Virtual Global Village and Youth Pavilion team will be in contact with you to discuss the virtual format and other options.
9. What will happen to hotel reservations?
Individual Bookings – all hotel reservations will be cancelled on your behalf by the AIDS 2020 Accommodation Team (c/o MCI USA). Your deposit will be fully refunded within 90-days from the official cancellation date of AIDS 2020 (by end of June 2020). Refunds are made in the same form that the payment was made. The current situation has caused a significant backlog and MCI USA will be processing individual refunds as quickly as possible. There is no further action required on your part; you will not need to request a cancellation of your hotel reservation – you will automatically receive an email confirming the cancellation in the next 7 days. Once your refund has been processed you will receive another email confirming this.
Group Bookings – all hotel reservations will be cancelled on your behalf by the AIDS 2020 Accommodation Team (c/o MCI USA). There is no further action on your part; you will not need to request a cancellation of your hotel reservation – you will receive an email from MCI USA in the next 7 days confirming cancellation of your block.
Thank you for your patience during this time. If you have any questions, please contact the AIDS 2020: Virtual Accommodation Team (c/o MCI USA) at email@example.com
10. How can I get updates about the Virtual Conference?