What is a Preventive HIV Vaccine?
- A preventive HIV vaccine is given to people who do not have HIV, with the goal of preventing HIV infection in the future.
- Currently, no preventive HIV vaccines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but research is underway. You must be enrolled in a clinical trial to receive a preventive HIV vaccine.
While a preventive HIV vaccine is given to people who do not have HIV, a therapeutic HIV vaccine is given to people who already have HIV. The goal of a therapeutic HIV vaccine is to strengthen a person’s immune response to the HIV that is already in the person’s body. Researchers are exploring the use of therapeutic HIV vaccines:
- To slow down the progression of HIV infection
- To eliminate the need for antiretroviral therapy (ART) while still keeping undetectable levels of HIV
To learn more, read the ClinicalInfo What is a Therapeutic HIV Vaccine? fact sheet.
Treatment options for HIV have improved a lot over the last 30 years. But HIV medicines can have side effects, can be expensive, and can be hard to access in some countries. Also, some people may develop drug resistance to certain HIV medicines and then must change medicines.
Using condoms correctly and taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can help prevent HIV transmission. But researchers believe a preventive HIV vaccine will be the most effective way to completely end new HIV infections.
Some of the areas of interest being studied in clinical trials include:
- The safety of preventive vaccines.
- Whether a preventive vaccine protects against HIV infection.
- Whether a preventive vaccine controls HIV if a person gets HIV while enrolled in a study. (It is possible for someone to get HIV through sexual contact or from sharing drug injection equipment while they are participating in a clinical trial. But a person cannot get HIV from the HIV vaccine being tested.)
- The immune responses that occur in people who receive a preventive vaccine.
- Different ways of giving preventive vaccines, such as using a needle and syringe versus a needle-free device.
A list of clinical trials on preventive HIV vaccines is available from the ClinicalInfo database of ClinicalTrials.gov study summaries. Click on the title of any trial in the list to see more information about the study.
If you are interested in participating in a vaccine study, you can also contact the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center by calling 866-833-LIFE (5433) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.