SCOPE: This review summarizes the main issues discussed during Track D, which examined the societal impact of HIV/AIDS, and responses to the epidemic by individuals, families, communities and societies worldwide. Micro- and macrolevel issues addressed included the development, implementation and evaluation of programmes for prevention and care; policy development and implementation; structural issues such as the impact of gender relations, development and migration on the development of the epidemic; and the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS on affected societies and communities. RECURRENT THEMES: Presentations provided strong evidence that peer-led, community-based programmes offer particularly effective ways of working, and that participatory research involving affected communities provides useful results for the design and evaluation of programmes and policies. This is the case across settings, issues, populations and countries. FUTURE DIRECTIONS: Emerging needs include how best to ensure sustainability of national and international responses, how best to scale up successful interventions for wider reach, and how best to work with systematically marginalized, neglected groups and populations. Research priorities include the characterization of the multiple determinants of HIV-related vulnerability, and the evaluation of interventions that take these complex determinants as their starting point. A more coherent and strategic response requires less separation between the different constituencies involved in AIDS work, and the more sustained involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS themselves.