Implementation Science at the International Aids conference, 2018
The biennial International AIDS conference took place in Amsterdam in July 2018. Professor James Hargreaves acted as one of the five Lead Rapporteurs.
One aspect of the conference where LSHTM researchers are especially prominent is in Track E on Implementation Research, Economics, Systems and Synergies with other Health and Development Sectors. Professor Charlotte Watts is the co-track chair and Professor James Hargreaves will act as the Lead Rapporteur for this track, supported by a team including several other LSHTM researchers. Professor Hargreaves directs the LSHTM Centre for Evaluation and The MeSH Consortium.
The growing field of Implementation Science is where science meets action. Throughout the conference, advances in basic science and understanding of the HIV virus will be discussed, as will the research on the most appropriate treatment strategies. Social and behavioural scientist will discuss how HIV is understood and responded to across the globe, while epidemiologists will track the spread of the epidemic and how this is changing over time. In Track E, implementation researchers will seek to identify the most effective and efficient approaches to guide countries in implementing programmes, finance and track their response, and integrate HIV/AIDS within broader approaches to health and development. Track E presenters will consider what is needed to implement approaches to strengthen the treatment and prevention cascades, and reach goals such as the 90:90:90 targets and reductions of new infections.
Asked about some of the key developments that he hopes to see through Track E during the conference, Professor Hargreaves said, “Myself and my team hope that Track E will report on some of the most important multi-disciplinary research to be presented at the conference. Resources for HIV are beginning to shrink – so, crucially we will see novel research on the cost effectiveness of new technologies in different contexts, as well as the discussion of innovative financing options to sustain the response as is needed. Countries are innovating in the way they track the epidemic and their response so as to be ever more effective, and we will see how a range of new technologies are being used to facilitate this including linked data systems, mobile phones, online platforms and dashboards. Self and community based-testing platforms are beginning to produce important experiences in getting services to the hardest to reach populations. The global community has set ambitious goals for prevention and treatment and we will see at the conference new experiences emerge delivering pre-exposure prophylaxis and implementing universal testing and treatment. We will see how novel implementation strategies are being used to reach men with health services, to support adolescent girls and young women to avoid HIV infection, and to uphold the rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups. We will see how the HIV response is increasingly being integrated within a broader public health agenda, but also leveraging synergies with development efforts in social protection, education, rights based programming and poverty alleviation. These efforts are crucial if the science discussed this week at the conferences is to be translated into impact on the lives of those affected by HIV, and ultimately to end AIDS”Back