HIV/AIDS and The Complications of a vaccine

Since there is not a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, the only way people can prevent transmission is to avoid behaviors putting them at risk to be infected, such as sharing a needle.

Many people infected with AIDS have no symptoms. Therefore, there is no way of knowing with certainty whether a sexual partner is infected unless he or she has repeatedly tested negative for the virus and has not engaged in any risky behavior.

Abstainence or using a condom may offer partial protection during oral, anal or vaginal sex. Only water-based lubricants should be used with male latex condoms.

Although some laboratory evidence shows that spermicides can kill HIV, researchers have not found that these products can prevent a person from getting HIV.

Recently, NIAID-supported two studies that found adult male medical circumcision reduces a man’s risk of acquiring HIV infection by approximately 50 percent. The studies, which were done in Uganda and Kenya, pertain only in the cases of heterosexual transmission. As with most prevention strategies, adult male medical circumcision is not completely effective at preventing HIV transmission. Circumcision will be more effective if it is a part of a more complete prevention strategy that includes condoms.

Vaccines help the body to learn when a harmful pathogen is present and fight it off should it show up. In face of extraordinary advances in understanding both HIV and the immune system a successful HIV vaccine continues to be unattainable. This why we primarily reley on HIV medications like Kaletra (Lopinavir, Ritonavir), and Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine).

HIV attacks CD4+ T cells, the most important part of the immune system that coordinates and directs the activities of other types of immune cells that combat intruding microbes. For a vaccine to be effective, it will need to be able to activate these cells-a difficult feat if they’re being infected and destroyed by the virus.Scientist have not figured out the correlates of immunity or protection for HIV and are working to make vaccines to induce the necessary immune resonse necessary.


Unlike other viral diseases for which investigators have made successful vaccines, there are no documented cases of complete recovery from HIV infection. Therefore, HIV vaccine researchers have no human model of recovery from infection and subsequent protection from re-infection to guide them. HIV will continually mutate in an infected person while it recombinds to evolve into brand new strains. This extensive diversity of HIV poses a challenge to vaccine design as an HIV vaccine would need to protect against many different strains of the virus circulating throughout the world. Traditional vaccines have had to defend against one or a limited number of strains.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.