In 1996, a group of national HIV organizations came together to create the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). Led by NMAC, this coalition understood the value of bringing together the diverse communities impacted by the disease to be educated on the latest science, build support and bring hope to people facing an epidemic. As one of the largest domestic HIV/AIDS conferences with a community focus, USCA brings together around 3,000 people each year including case managers, representatives from local, state and federal government, capacity building providers, researchers, representatives from national AIDS services organizations, pharmaceutical representatives, peer navigators and people living with HIV. Skills building takes place in the form of over 100, 2-hour workshops, 25 posters and 4 plenary sessions. USCA is held every other year in Washington, DC to ensure the maximum possible participation by federal representatives. The 2020 USCA will be held in San Juan, PR at the Puerto Rico Convention Center from October 10-13. USCA focuses on a range of HIV/AIDS issues and there are a number of ways content is developed and organized for the conference including pathway sessions, conference tracks and through the submission of abstracts. Over the past 7 years, the conference has moved from a program developed mainly through abstract submissions to include curated content through the addition of pathway sessions. Pathway sessions include 3-5 workshops on a particular topic that are created by recognized leaders in that area. The conference includes 18-20 pathway sessions on a variety of topics, such as aging, structural interventions, and youth. Additionally, several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration and HHS? Secretary?s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, have partnered with USCA to conduct pathways on prevention, care and treatment, hepatitis, PrEP, viral suppression and stigma in minority communities. Other workshops and poster sessions are filled through a call for abstract submissions, which are reviewed by several track committees comprised of experts in their respective fields. In addition to pathways, the conference is organized by Conference Tracks, which feature workshops and poster sessions in the areas of biomedical HIV prevention, gay men, leadership, people living with HIV, stigma and public policy. Each year, Tracks and Pathway topics are reviewed and are changed, as needed, to reflect current issues and OAR HIV/AIDS Priorities. For the past 3 years, NMAC has partnered with the DC CFAR to host a pathway of workshops on HIV treatment and cure research. Conference support from the NIH R13 grant will be used to support this collaboration and to fund scholarships that will include people living with HIV over 50, cis and trans women, emerging youth leaders and people of color. As collaborators, the DC CFAR leadership and HIV investigators from eight DC-based institutions will contribute their guidance and expertise as NMAC develops the 2020 agenda.
The mission of the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) is to increase the community- based response to end the HIV epidemic. To achieve this mission, USCA recognizes that it is imperative communities are educated about the science of HIV treatment, biomedical HIV prevention and cure research. The DC CFAR will collaborate with USCA on the research component of the conference to enhance participants? opportunities to learn new skills, network with providers and researchers, to exchange best practices and develop new leaders in HIV prevention and research.