“Developing an effective HIV vaccine would be a major scientific and medical breakthrough for humankind,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “Alongside expanding access to existing antiretroviral medicines and combination HIV prevention tools, sustained investment and intensified collaboration to develop an HIV vaccine is needed to bring the world a step closer to ending the AIDS epidemic.”
In 2014, global investment in HIV vaccine research and development increased by 2.8%, to US$ 841 million, up from US$ 818 million in 2013. However, this rebound followed five years during which available resources either flatlined or declined, with a high of US$ 961 million in 2007. The United States of America remains the largest investor in HIV research and development.
Public–private and international partnerships have been formed to accelerate progress towards an effective HIV vaccine. UNAIDS is working together with partners, such as the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, AVAC and other stakeholders, to advance research. UNAIDS is also an active participant in the annual vaccine funders’ meetings coordinated by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise to highlight the importance of continued research, sustained funding and coordinated responses towards HIV vaccine discovery.
Over the past 30 years, four concepts for an HIV vaccine have been tested in six efficacy trials. Of these, the RV144 vaccine trial in Thailand in 2009 was most promising, reducing HIV infection risk by 31%. It is hoped that ongoing research will lead to at least two further large-scale trials of vaccine candidates starting in the near future. At the same time, work continues to develop other potential vaccines, including a combined vaccine for HIV and hepatitis C. The effectiveness of neutralizing antibodies is also being studied.
An HIV vaccine will be necessary for the long-term control of HIV and is the best hope for sustaining the progress made towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.