Research Literacy Zone Roundup

July 28, 2021

Alongside last week’s IAS 2021 Conference, AVAC and partners hosted a range of dynamic sessions in the virtual Research Literacy Zone, where researchers and advocates explored timely topics including: Dapivirine Vaginal Ring rollout, advances in vaccine and cure research, U=U, new approaches to understanding social factors that impact health, vaccine hesitancy and more. The Zone is a gathering place for researchers and community advocates to dive deep on critical topics in a small-scale environment.

All Zone sessions are available on our Research Literacy Zone page and on ENGAGE, AVAC’s online platform for peer-to-peer resource-sharing and collaborative learning. Register for your free account today, join the conversation, and access all that ENGAGE has to offer.

Also, the Zone isn’t just for conferences! AVAC hosts virtual events and conversations throughout the year (including an August 11 rectal microbicides webinar with AFC!). Have a topic idea for a future session? Drop us a note!


HIV Cure Research in Africa: Challenges and opportunities included a panel of researchers and advocates exploring some of the challenges and opportunities of HIV cure research on the African continent, strategies that are currently being pursued, and the science of the cases of HIV cure reported in the news. Listen to the recording.

Pushing U=U Jigsaw Puzzle into the HIV Prevention Agenda focused on efforts to use the science of U=U to promote HIV treatment uptake, enhance adherence and eliminate stigma and discrimination, so that PLWHIV can live longer and have healthy relationships while protecting their partners from contracting HIV. Listen to the recording.

Models, Maps and Measures: What advocates need to know about new strategies assessing social determinants focused on how to assess the social determinants of HIV and a special NIH-funded initiative on the issue. The expanding pipeline for HIV prevention was one of the driving factors motivating the NIH to fund an initiative examining new ways of measuring social determinants.. The discussion focused on two new strategies: using models to determine what factors enhance the effectiveness of cash transfers in adolescent girls and young women in South Africa, and the use of GPS tracking to determine barriers to PrEP access in young MSM in NYC. Listen to the recording.

A Conversation with Advocates on Vaccine Hesitancy provided attendees a space to reflect on the urgent need for vaccine equity and potential vaccine hesitancy. Panel members discussed why some individuals are hesitant in their communities. The discussion also focused on solutions, with panel members and participants sharing what has worked in their contexts and resources they are developing to engage communities in the discussion now. Listen to the recording.

Inclusion of Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women in HIV Prevention Research: What can you and I do to move this agenda forward centered on the importance of including pregnant and breastfeeding women in HIV prevention trials. The discussion outlined barriers to participation and implementation and focused on steps to move the field forward. Listen to the recording.

Ring Roundup covered updates in the research program and rollout plans for the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring (DVR). Attendees learned about IPM’s DVR research program and the early-phase research pursuing a longer-acting formula and dual prevention (HIV and pregnancy). Discussion also focused on the current regulatory approval process of the ring as a prevention option for women and the steps advocates can take to secure national approvals. Listen to the recording.

Stay tuned for our full roundup of IAS conference news later this week, and remember, check out ENGAGE for future events and conversations, and let us know if you have an idea to share!