HIV vaccination

Last reviewed 01/2018

At present, there is no vaccine available against infection with the human immunodeficiency virus.

There are various problems in development of an effective HIV vaccine:

  • there are two populations of viruses responsible for the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), HIV-1 and HIV-2
  • like other RNA viruses, HIV mutates rapidly, producing antigenically heterogenous viruses within a single person; at least 5 distinct subgroups of HIV-1 have been identified
  • HIV may be transmitted as a cell-free virus and by HIV-infected cells and so neutralizing antibodies alone are unlikely to be sufficient to prevent infection