Vaccines help protect the immune system from serious infectious diseases. A vaccine is made from very small amounts of weak or dead germs that can cause diseases for example, viruses, bacteria, or toxins. It prepares your body to fight the disease faster and more effectively so you won’t get sick. HIV scientist are yet to get a vaccine for the virus. An HIV vaccine could be PREVENTIVE  and THERAPEUTIC.

A PREVENTIVE HIV vaccine will be given to people who do not have HIV, with the goal of preventing HIV infection in the future. The vaccine will teach the person’s immune system to recognize and effectively fight HIV in case the person is ever exposed to HIV , while the THERAPEUTIC HIV vaccine model will be given to people who already have HIV.

The goal of a therapeutic HIV vaccine is to strengthen a person’s immune response to the HIV. Researchers are exploring the use of therapeutic HIV vaccines to slow down the progression of HIV infection and also to ultimately eliminate the need for  antiretroviral therapy  (ART) while keeping undetectable levels of HIV. Treatment options for HIV have improved a lot over the last 30 years. But HIV medicines can have side effects, can be expensive, and can be hard to access in some countries. Also, some people may develop drug resistances to certain HIV medicines and then must change medicines. Correct and consistent condom use and taking PrEP  can help prevent HIV transmission, but I believe a preventive HIV vaccine will be the most effective way to completely end new HIV infections.

Adeshina Oluwanifemi, 2020 LeNNiB Champion.