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Led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is observed on May 18. This event is an opportunity to recognize the many volunteers, community members, health professionals, and scientists who are working together to find a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV.


HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the immune system. Untreated HIV can affect and kill CD4 cells, which are a type of immune cell called T cells.

What Is a Vaccine?

Vaccines are products made from very small amounts of weak or dead germs (such as viruses, bacteria, or toxins) that can cause diseases. They help your immune system fight infections faster and more effectively. When you get a vaccine, it sparks your immune response, helping your body fight off and remember the germ so it can attack it if the germ ever invades again. And since vaccines are made of very small amounts of weak or dead germs, they won’t make you sick.

Is There a Vaccine to Prevent HIV?

There is currently no vaccine available that will prevent HIV infection or treat those who have it. However, scientists are working to develop one. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is investing in multiple approaches to prevent HIV, including a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine.