Abstract submissions

COVID-19 abstract submissions, including exploratory studies, are now open until 25 May 2020.

Abstracts for a virtual one-day COVID-19 Conference on the final day of AIDS 2020: Virtual will be considered in one or more of the following tracks:

  • Track A: Basic science, pathogenesis, virology, immunology, inflammation
  • Track B: Clinical science, testing (RT-PCR and serologic) and diagnoses, natural history, clinical care, ARDS care, therapeutics
  • Track C: Epidemiology, transmission dynamics, prevention, vaccines
  • Track D: Public health responses including physical distancing and community level efforts, programmes, policies, lifting restrictions, modeling
  • Track E: Social, economic, political, human rights impacts of the pandemic and the response

Abstract submission is now open

The deadline for abstracts on COVID-19, including exploratory studies, is 25 May 2020.

Full submission guidelines can be found below.

The highest-scoring abstracts will be selected for presentation in oral abstract sessions.

Call for abstracts 

We encourage work that introduces new ideas, concepts and research and deepens understanding in the field, as well as analyses of both successes and failures. Please read the following guidelines carefully before submitting your abstract:

  • Abstracts can be submitted only online via the Conference account on our website, www.aids2020.org. Submissions by fax, post or email will not be considered.
  • All abstracts must be written in English.
  • It is the author’s responsibility to submit an abstract with the correct wording. Any errors in spelling, grammar or scientific fact in the abstract text will be reproduced exactly as typed by the author. Abstract titles will be subject to a spellcheck if the abstract is selected for presentation.

Policies for submission 

Abstracts should not include libellous or defamatory content. Material presented in abstracts should not violate any copyright laws. If figures, graphics and/or images have been taken from sources not copyrighted by the author, it is the author’s sole responsibility to secure the rights from the copyright holder in writing to reproduce those figures, graphics and/or images for both worldwide print and web publication. The author must bear all reproduction costs charged by the copyright holder.

An abstract that has been previously published or presented at a national, regional or international meeting can be submitted to AIDS 2020: Virtual only if there are new methods, findings, updated information or other valid reasons for resubmitting.

If preliminary or partial data have been published or presented previously, the submitting author will be required to provide details of the publication or presentation, along with a justification of why the abstract merits consideration for AIDS 2020: Virtual. Preprints will not be considered as prior publication and will not jeopardize abstract consideration for AIDS 2020: Virtual.

The Conference Committee will consider this information when making final decisions.

If the author neglects to provide these required details and justification, or if evidence of previous publication or presentation is found, the abstract will be rejected.

The conference organizers regard plagiarism as serious professional misconduct. All abstracts are screened for plagiarism and, when identified, the abstract and any other abstracts submitted by the same author are rejected. In addition, the submitting author’s account and scholarship application, if one has been submitted, will be cancelled.

The conference supports only research that has been conducted according to the protocol approved by the institutional or local committee on ethics in human investigation. Where no such committee exists, the research should have been conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki of the World Medical Association. The AIDS 2020: Virtual Conference Committee may enquire further into ethical aspects when evaluating abstracts

Abstract submission process 

Conference account  

Authors must create a conference account to submit an abstract. More than one abstract can be submitted through a conference account. After an abstract has been created, modifications can be made until 25 May 2020.

Choosing a category 

The category is the general heading under which the abstract will be reviewed and later published in the conference materials, if accepted. The category that best describes the subject of the abstract should be chosen. During the submission process, you will be asked to select one category for your abstract.

Conference embargo policy

By submitting an abstract to the COVID-19 Conference, you agree to adhere to the conference embargo policy. The policy specifies that while authors may publish the fact that their abstract has been selected for inclusion in the conference programme, data from the abstract may NOT be shared in any form (print, broadcast or online publication, media release or conference presentation, with the exception of preprints) prior to its official presentation at COVID-19 Conference.

As is the case with most scientific and medical conferences, abstracts from the COVID-19 Conference are released to delegates and media under a strict embargo policy. Information about all abstracts may not be published or presented before 09:00 (Central European Summer Time) on Friday, 10 July 2020. If an abstract is part of an official COVID-19 Conference press conference or media roundtable that occurs before that time, the embargo on that abstract lifts at the start of the official press conference or media roundtable.

A conference committee will review any potential cases of embargo breaks by presenters. Embargo breaks by conference presenters may result in the removal of the abstract in question from the conference programme. This includes publication of the abstract data in a journal or public outlet prior to presentation at the conference, with the exception of preprints. Please direct any questions or concerns about the conference embargo policy for presenters to the COVID-19 Conference abstracts team at covidconf@iasociety.org.

Journalists who receive embargoed information related to studies to be presented at the COVID-19 Conference agree not to publish that information prior to the lifting of the conference media embargo regardless of the source or format of the information (slides, press release, abstract, interview). Violation of the embargo policy by a reporter will lead to one or more of the following measures:

  • Suspension of the reporter’s media conference credentials
  • Removal of the reporter’s name from the IAS media distribution list for two years
  • Refusal of media credentials for upcoming IAS conferences.

Please direct any questions or concerns about the conference media embargo policy to the Communications team at media@iasociety.org.

Abstract structure 

The conference offers two options for abstract submission:

Option 1

This is suited for research conducted in all disciplines. Abstracts submitted under Option 1 should contain concise statements of:

  • Background: Indicate the purpose and objective of the research, the hypothesis that was tested, or a description of the problem being analysed or evaluated.
  • Methods: Describe the study period, setting and location, study design, study population, data collection and methods of analysis used.
  • Results: Present as clearly and in as much detail as possible the findings and/or outcomes of the study. Please disaggregate data by age and gender where possible and summarize any specific results.
  • Conclusions: Explain the significance of your study’s findings and/or outcomes for prevention, treatment, care and/or support and future implications of the results.

The following review criteria will be used in scoring abstracts submitted under Option 1:

  1. Is there a clear background and justified objective?
  2. Is the methodology and/or study design appropriate for the objectives?
  3. Are the results important and clearly presented?
  4. Are the conclusions supported by the results?
  5. Is the study original and does it contribute to the field?

Option 2

This is suited for lessons learned through programme, project or policy implementation or management. Abstracts submitted under Option 2 should contain concise statements of:

  • Background: Summarize the purpose, scope and objectives of the programme, project or policy.
  • Description: Describe the programme, project or policy period, setting and location, the structure, key population (if applicable) and activities and interventions undertaken in support of the programme, project or policy.
  • Lessons learned: Present as clearly and in as much detail as possible the findings and/or outcomes of the programme, project or policy. Include an analysis or evaluation of lessons learned and best practices. Please summarize any specific results that support your lessons learned and best practices.
  • Conclusions/next steps: Explain the significance of the findings and/or outcomes of the programme, project or policy for prevention, treatment, care and/or support and future implications of the results.

The following review criteria will apply to abstracts submitted under Option 2:

  1. Is there a clear background and justified objective?
  2. Is the programme, project or policy design and implementation appropriate for the objectives?
  3. Are the lessons learned or best practices important, supported by the findings and clearly presented?
  4. Are the conclusions/next steps supported by the results and are they feasible?
  5. Is the work reported original and does it contribute to the field?

Disaggregated sex and other demographic data in abstracts   

Authors are encouraged to provide a breakdown of data by sex and other demographics, such as age, geographic region, race/ethnicity and/or other relevant demographic characteristics in submitted abstracts, when appropriate. Your abstract should include the number and percentage of men and women (and additional breakdown by gender, age and/or ethnicity if appropriate) who participated in your research or project, and results should be disaggregated by sex/gender and other relevant demographics. Analyses of any gender-based differences or any other differences between sub-populations should be provided in the Results or Lessons learned sections, if relevant.


A standard font, such as Arial, should be used when formatting the text. This helps prevent special characters from getting lost when copying the text to the online abstract submission form. Ensure that you check the final abstract with the system’s preview function before submission, and edit or replace as necessary.

Word limits 

The abstract body is limited to 350 words. Titles are limited to 30 words.

A maximum of two tables and/or graphs in total can be included. A graph/image (in JPG, GIF or PNG, ideally at least 600dpi) counts as 50 words and a table counts as five words per row (50 words maximum).

Common reasons for abstract rejection:  

  • Abstract poorly written
  • Not enough new information
  • Clear objective and/or hypothesis missing
  • Linkage between different parts of the abstract not comprehensible
  • Duplicate or overlap with another abstract
  • Erroneous or unsupported conclusions

Reasons for abstract rejection (specific to Option 1):

  • Methods (either quantitative or qualitative) inadequate and/or insufficient to support conclusions
  • Summary of essential results inadequate and/or missing.

Reasons for abstract rejection (specific to Option 2):

  • Description inadequate and/or insufficient to support conclusions
  • Lessons learned inadequate and/or missing.


If English is not your native language, have your abstract reviewed by a native English speaker before submission.

Submission confirmation 

After submission of the abstract, a confirmation email will be sent to the abstract submitter. In order to receive confirmation, please ensure that emails from abstracts@aids2020-abstracts.org are not marked as spam by your email provider.