Coming soon: news from HIVR4P 2018

The third HIV Research for Prevention conference (HIVR4P) in Madrid next week (21 to 25 October) will feature news from every aspect of HIV prevention. HIVR4P came from a merger between the HIV vaccine and HIV microbicides conferences, and the breadth of its coverage reflects this. 

Plenary sessions will cover the latest in progress towards an HIV vaccine, what vaccine science is telling us about the mechanisms of HIV transmission, novel developments of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) including implants and rings, and the use of broadly neutralising antibodies in HIV prevention.

But the focus will also be very much in implementation science. The PROUD trial’s Sheena McCormack will talk about designing PrEP trials for populations as yet unreached by it; US Chief HIV Scientist Anthony Fauci will talk about the programmes we need to put in place to end the HIV epidemic; and Spanish HIV activist Michael Meulbroek is part of a final plenary session on multiple prevention strategies, when he talks about the impact of introducing combination HIV prevention including PrEP at the Checkpoint clinic in Barcelona.



The last part of the large intestine just above the anus.


A product (such as a gel or cream) that is being tested in HIV prevention research. It could be applied topically to genital surfaces to prevent or reduce the transmission of HIV during sexual intercourse. Microbicides might also take other forms, including films, suppositories, and slow-releasing sponges or vaginal rings.

broadly neutralising antibodies (bNAbs)

A neutralising antibody (NAb) is an antibody that fully defends its target cell from an antigen. A broadly neutralising antibody (bNAb) is a neutralising antibody that has this effect against a wide range of antigens. A number of broadly neutralising antibodies have been isolated from persons living with HIV. Some of them are being studied and, in some cases, used in clinical trials, to defend humans against HIV infection, treat HIV infection, and kill HIV-infected CD4+ T cells in latent reservoirs.


To eliminate a disease or a condition in an individual, or to fully restore health. A cure for HIV infection is one of the ultimate long-term goals of research today. It refers to a strategy or strategies that would eliminate HIV from a person’s body, or permanently control the virus and render it unable to cause disease. A ‘sterilising’ cure would completely eliminate the virus. A ‘functional’ cure would suppress HIV viral load, keeping it below the level of detection without the use of ART. The virus would not be eliminated from the body but would be effectively controlled and prevented from causing any illness. 

neutralising antibody

An antibody that neutralises (renders harmless) an infectious microorganism.

Expect news on the impact of PrEP programmes on HIV incidence in other cities too, on immune responses in previous and ongoing vaccine trials including the Uhambo trial underway in South Africa, on how PrEP may be processed differently within vaginal rather than rectal tissue, and on therapeutic vaccines and their possible part to play in an HIV cure.

First off on the Sunday morning there is also an advocates’ pre-conference session hosted by IRMA (International Rectal Microbicide Advocates) and AVAC and featuring an hour’s panel; and discussion on the state of PrEP in Europe, led by the organisation of that name (see

Conference reporting on

We’ll be reporting from HIVR4P 2018, publishing news at, and will send out one conference summary bulletin in English in the week following the conference. You can sign up here to receive the bulletin. (If you already subscribe to one of our regular news bulletins, you will automatically receive this conference bulletin.)

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For more information on the conference, visit the official conference website and view the online conference programme.