A review of vaccines for HIV prevention.
Mwau M., McMichael AJ.
HIV/AIDS has become the most devastating pandemic in recorded history. It has killed 40 million people in the last 20 years and the World Health Organisation estimated that at least 14,000 new infections occurred daily in 2001. There will be up to 100 million new infections in the next 10 years (for current updates, visit http://www.unaids.org/epidemic_update/). Most HIV infections occur in the developing world, and the adverse social and economic impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, particularly in the developing world, is unprecedented. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has had significant effects on HIV/AIDS in the developed world. The drugs have acted to prolong survival, reduce the viral load, and to alleviate suffering. However, the incidence of side effects and resistance is high and the drugs are unaffordable and unavailable in the developing world. HAART regimens are difficult to comply with. Public health efforts to modify the behaviour, attitude and culture that accelerate the spread of HIV/AIDS have had only modest success. There is urgent need for a prophylactic and/or therapeutic HIV vaccine. This is a review of the obstacles and current trends in HIV vaccine development.