Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live. This section will give you basic information about HIV, such as how it’s transmitted, how you can prevent it, and how to get tested for HIV. Read more about HIV at www.cdc.gov


Since the beginning of the Institute, a major focus of DHVI investigators has been the development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine. Today, DHVI plays an integral leadership role in the Global HIV/AIDS Vaccine Enterprise and has contributed significantly to the progress of the entire field of HIV vaccine development.

In July 2005, the DHVI received a $350M grant funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to establish the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI). This center was a consortium of investigators from academic institutions around the world who worked together in an unprecedented collaborative way to test new vaccine strategies that would overcome key immunological roadblocks in HIV vaccine design. In July 2012, the DHVI was awarded a Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) grant from the NIAID. The goal of this 7-year grant was to build on the progress that was made by the CHAVI to design a practical preventive HIV-1 vaccine that incorporates protective innate, antibody, and T cell-targeted immunogens.

In 2006, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a second scientific arm of the Enterprise, the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD). The CAVD has awarded two grants to Bart Haynes to establish the Haynes Vaccine Discovery Consortia at DHVI. Under the first grant, this consortium has worked to develop novel immunogens and adjuvants for inducing neutralizing antibodies against HIV, a major obstacle in the development of an effective HIV vaccine. A second CAVD grant that was awarded to Dr. Haynes in November 2011 aims to develop HIV-1 envelope immunogens that improve on the results of the RV144 trial using a B lineage-based vaccine design.

Finally, DHVI has been a leader in the immune correlates analysis of the RV144 vaccine trial.  RV144 showed an estimated vaccine efficacy of 31.2%, and the study of the correlates of immunity is a critical opportunity for the field to understand why this trial worked to make future vaccines perform better.