Dubbed by Science Magazine as the “woodstock of global science conventions”, AIDS2020, held from July 6-10, 2020, is a bi-annual scientific and medical gathering dedicated to advancements in HIV/AIDS treatment and research.
Traditionally held as a physical event, the 2020 conference was originally scheduled to be co-located in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California in the United States. Due to the worldwide outbreak and continued spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), organisers at the International AIDS Society (IAS) turned to the MCI Group in March to assist them with quickly pivoting the event online, in order to maintain continuity and momentum for a cure.
After vetting multiple virtual event platform providers to ensure the necessary technology features, flexibility and bandwidth to enable an event of such a massive scale on a short timeline, MCI Group ultimately selected UgoVirtual as their strategic solution provider to enable the first virtual edition of the International AIDS Society Conference.
Featuring over 20,000 global attendees participating in more than 600 webinars, 12 prime sessions, 27 workshops, 50 symposia, 62 abstract sessions, 10 pre-conference events and 70-plus satellite sessions, the massive virtual gathering was held on the originally scheduled dates and was deployed with a “follow the sun” schedule to accommodate multiple time zones.
The agenda included live and pre-recorded sessions and presentations by leading scientists, health workers, policy specialists, community leaders, A-list celebrities, activists, government officials and even members of the British royal family.
The information was presented on the backdrop of a visually stunning virtual environment designed by MCI Group, which was then digitised and securely delivered to the many thousands of global registered attendees on UgoVirtual’s virtual event platform.
The AIDS2020 Virtual conference enabled delegates to access and actively engage with the latest HIV science, advocacy and knowledge that is traditionally presented at the physical conference. In addition to a plethora of virtual sessions and community networking opportunities, the event featured a Global Village and Youth Programme that enabled participation by online audiences around the world.
Educational content included presentations and appearances by such recognisable names such as Sir Elton John, Dr. Deborah Birx, Prince Harry of the British royal family and Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as leading medical professionals, community leaders and individuals who have been affected by HIV and/or AIDS. The last day of the conference was devoted to providing information on containment and potential treatments for a more recent pandemic, COVID-19.
“AIDS2020 is a critical event for the medical and scientific community worldwide, and it has been a true privilege to be a part of allowing the show to go on, even in the midst of the challenges presented by a global pandemic,” said Diane Estner, Strategic Advisor for UgoVirtual. “The MCI Group team’s tireless work, dedication and skill in pivoting this landmark international event to a digital format was impressive and we are honored to have worked alongside them to make this a successful and productive experience for the many stakeholders around the world.”
“Due to not only the incredible size, scope and reach of AIDS2020, but to its critical importance to the global medical and scientific communities, it was essential that we provide a strategic and seamless solution to allow the transformation of its content to the digital realm,” said Shawn Pierce, President of Strategic Events, Meetings and Incentives at MCI Group. “UgoVirtual proved to be an ideal partner in this venture, providing the ideal blend of commitment, technology and expertise to bring our client’s vision to life virtually.”