New user? Sign up here |
HIV Vaccines

Education Packet

HIV Vaccines – This packet is a compilation of several recent fact sheets and other resources. You may wish to customize it to meet the needs or interests of particular groups, such as event participants, providers, patients, clients, or the general public. So please feel free to distribute all or part of this packet as either a printout or PDF.

Resources from the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN)

HIV Vaccine Trials Network – HVTN is “the world’s largest publicly funded multi-disciplinary international collaboration facilitating the development of vaccines to prevent HIV/AIDS.” HVTN conducts all phases of clinical trials, including studies to evaluate experimental vaccines for safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy. The HVTN site has many resources on HIV vaccines, which are listed and described in the “HIV Vaccine Research and Development” section below.

HIV Vaccine Myths and Facts – This addresses some common myths and misconceptions about HIV vaccines and presents important facts about HIV vaccines in plain language. Also available in Spanish and Portuguese.

Volunteer FAQ – This provides answers to frequently asked questions that prospective participants may have about joining an HIV vaccine trial.

HVTN Studies – This provides background information about HVTN studies and provides links to more detailed information about several ongoing studies. It also provides information about HVTN's support for ancillary/exploratory studies conducted by other institutions studying HIV/AIDS, immunology, or vaccinology.

Why Is an HIV Vaccine Needed? – This describes the current state of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the value of vaccines in reducing or eliminating infectious diseases, and other prevention options that are available.

Types of Vaccines – This describes the different types of preventive vaccines that might be used to prevent HIV infection, including protein vaccines, DNA vaccines, and viral vector vaccines.

Using Antibodies for HIV Prevention – This provides information about the ways that broadly neutralizing antibodies might be used to prevent HIV infection, either through injecting the antibodies or delivering antibody genes into a person’s cells.

How HVTN Study Products are Developed – This describes the different stages of vaccine development from initial computer modeling and laboratory studies, to preclinical testing, to the four phases of clinical studies.

How Vaccines Work – This describes the difference between preventive and therapeutic vaccines, the components of vaccines, the ways they might prevent or control HIV infections, and the possibility that different partially effective HIV vaccines might be used in combination to better control HIV. 

Ethics of HVTN Trials – This lists and links to the international codes of ethics that have been adopted since World War II to ensure the protection of human participants in biomedical research. It also describes three main principles that are the basis of these codes of ethics: autonomy – respect for people’s right to freely choose to participate in biomedical research with the information needed to make informed decisions; beneficence – evidence that the benefits of the biomedical research should outweigh the risks; and justice – an equitable selection of participants in biomedical research.

Bill of Rights and Responsibilities (BRR) for HIV Research – This outlines the rights and responsibilities of participants in HIV-related research. The BRR was originally written in English in 2003 and has since been revised multiple times. The latest version, completed in 2020, has also been translated into French, Portuguese, Spanish, and several African languages.

Resources from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

History of HIV Vaccine Research – This fact sheet lists milestones in HIV vaccine development from 1984 through 2017.

HIV Vaccine Development – This briefly discusses two different strategies for HIV vaccine development: an empirical approach and a theoretical approach.  These two approaches are described in greater depth in the two fact sheets listed immediately below.

An Empirical Approach to HIV Vaccine Development – This approach relies on observation and experimentation to move vaccine candidates quickly into human testing in clinical trials. This fact sheet also describes the landmark RV144 vaccine study in Thailand, which was the first large clinical trial to demonstrate efficacy for an experimental HIV vaccine.

A Theoretical Approach to HIV Vaccine Development – In this approach, candidate vaccines are designed based on an understanding of the immune system’s response to HIV infection. This fact sheet describes efforts to design antibody-based HIV vaccines, research to increase understanding of HIV’s viral structure, and approaches for designing cell-based HIV vaccines.

Progress Toward an HIV Vaccine – This infographic/poster describes the challenges of developing an HIV vaccine, recent progress in vaccine development, and ongoing research strategies to develop safe and effective HIV vaccines.

Resources from HIVinfo

What Is a Preventive HIV Vaccine? – This fact sheet describes what preventive HIV vaccines are, how they differ from therapeutic vaccines, why it is important to develop preventive vaccines, research into the development of preventive vaccines, and where to find more information about preventive vaccine development. Also available in Spanish.

What Is a Therapeutic HIV Vaccine? – This fact sheet describes what therapeutic HIV vaccines are, how they differ from preventive vaccines, the potential benefits of therapeutic vaccines, and where to find more information about therapeutic vaccine development. Also available in Spanish.


The contents listed on this page are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, the New England AIDS Education and Training Center.