FYI Video: A Conversation About the Importance of HIV Vaccine Research

Content From: HIV.govPublished: June 05, 20242 min read



Louis Shackelford of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and NIH’s Carl Dieffenbach discuss why a safe, effective, and durable HIV vaccine is important for health equity and controlling the global pandemic.


In our latest FYI videoExit Disclaimer for HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD), Louis B. Shackelford, MPH, Director of External Relations for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and COVID-19 Prevention Network at Fred Hutch, discussed HIV vaccine research with Carl Dieffenbach, PhD, Director of the Division of AIDS at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). As NIH’s lead for HIV vaccine research, NIAID also leads HVAD. WatchExit Disclaimer their conversation.

Dr. Dieffenbach said developing an HIV vaccine is the only way to truly control the global HIV pandemic. “Currently, we have tools that are drug-based, or antiretrovirals, that are great for treatment and quite useful for prevention, but to really have equity and be able to control the global pandemic, we’re going to need a safe, effective, and durable HIV vaccine that can be used in all ages from infants to adults,” he said.

A vaccine would have a tremendous impact on people in the United States and abroad, Louis noted. “We still have millions of new diagnoses of HIV globally, and even in the United States, thousands of people year-over-year still are diagnosed with HIV. So having a safe and effective vaccine that can prevent people from getting HIV—that could be something that they can take and lasts for years—would have a tremendous impact, particularly for Black and Brown communities both in the United States and globally,” he said.

Looking to the future, Dr. Dieffenbach added that he is excited that researchers now understand sites of vulnerability—the parts of the HIV virus that are relatively stable even when the virus mutates. He stated, “As we go forward, we can build a vaccine that targets these sites of vulnerability, combine them into a vaccine, and provide the ability of the people we vaccinate to make the tools, the antibodies, that we are seeking, that we know will protect people from acquiring HIV.”