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

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.

This Duke Consortia for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development (CHAVD) funded in 2019 will apply state-of-the-art technologies and immunologic tools to focus on iterative, rational vaccine design that within 7 years will lead to a successful final vaccine design.

The CHAVI-ID built upon this work and developed first generation HIV-1 immunogens to induce HIV-1 protective antibodies, and established a translational pipeline to dramatically accelerate HIV-1 vaccine development with our own GMP manufacturing capabilities at Duke. The overall goal of the Duke CHAVD is to develop an effective HIV-1 vaccine for global use. 

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.

Dr. Kevin Saunders highlights the strength of team science and underscores how basic science discovery fuels translational research in HIV.

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