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HOME: POPULATION ISSUES: PREVENTING HIV INFECTION: Strategic Guidance on HIV/AIDS Prevention
Preventing HIV Infection
Strategic Guidance
on HIV/AIDS Prevention
Purpose of the Guidance Note
Strategic Orientation for UNFPA Action
Integrating HIV/AIDS Issues into the Country Programming Process
Country Situations
Core Support
Creating an Enabling Environment for HIV Prevention
Advances in New Technologies and Issues
The Way Forward
Glossary
ICPD+5 Goals
Regional HIV/AIDS Statistics
Advances in New Technologies and Issues

Vaccines
Microbicides for HIV Prevention
Male Circumcision

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Vaccines

One promising tool in the arsenal to prevent HIV/AIDS is development of a vaccine. Extensive research to find a safe and effective vaccine has been ongoing for the last 15 years. International organizations, including UNAIDS and WHO, the scientific community, research agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, Governments and communities are cooperating to intensify efforts to develop a vaccine.

Vaccines have three potential roles to play in combating HIV/AIDS. They could reduce susceptibility to infection, reduce the rate of infection and/or disease progression in vaccinated people who become infected, and reduce the level of infectiousness of HIV- positive persons.

Vaccine development is a complex protracted process, involving biological research and animal studies prior to conducting clinical trials on human populations. This explains why, two decades after the start of the pandemic, a suitable vaccine is still not available.

To respond to the HIV pandemic, there will be the need for multiple vaccines to be developed to address the different subtypes of the virus. Global surveillance is currently ongoing to assess the regional variations in HIV subtypes.

Once the relevant vaccines have been approved, several challenges are expected to arise in implementing an HIV vaccine programme. Initially, vaccines may not be fully effective. Because some studies have indicated an increase in HIV risk-taking during vaccine trials, intensive counselling will be required to limit risk-taking behaviour.

Given the challenges ahead in developing and then disseminating an HIV vaccine, it cannot, at this stage in its development, be viewed as a panacea but rather as a part of a comprehensive ongoing prevention strategy.

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