Case Study

Promoting Science Virtually: International AIDS Conference

Spearheaded content and drove coverage of AIDS 2020: Virtual, the world’s largest HIV conference by the International AIDS Society


At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we helped the 2020 International AIDS Conference go virtual, exceed its attendance and media goals, and galvanize thought leaders to focus on scientific advances in HIV when all eyes were on the coronavirus.


With coronavirus dominating health headlines, an HIV conference had to somehow link AIDS and COVID-19 to command interest.


  • Recruited headline-grabbing speakers with combined HIV and COVID expertise, including NIAID’s Dr. Anthony Fauci, WHO’s Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and UNAIDS’ Winnie Byanyima.
  • Spotlighted breaking science and policy updates only, with fewer media events to respect stretched schedules and coronavirus priority.
  • Offered embargoed studies and advance interviews, tailoring news and data to specific journalist interests (and tying to COVID-19 when relevant).
  • Steered smooth transition to virtual press conference platform and disseminated recorded briefings that maximized pickup.


  • Generated 80% increase in global media coverage compared with last International AIDS Conference.
  • Attracted 23,000 HCPs, advocates, policy makers, journalists and community representatives from 180 countries.
  • Conveyed HIV treatment and prevention breakthroughs plus evidence on COVID-19 therapies via hundreds of widely syndicated news stories, improving how both pandemics are understood by key opinion leaders.