Developing a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine is critical to end the global acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, but many question whether this goal is achievable. Natural immunity is not protective, and despite immunogenicity of HIV vaccine candidates, human trials have exclusively yielded disappointing results. Nevertheless, there is an indication that success may be possible, but this will be dependent on understanding the antiviral immune response in unprecedented depth to identify and engineer the types of immunity required. Here we outline fundamental immunological questions that need to be answered to develop a protective HIV vaccine, and the immediate need to harness a much broader scientific community to achieve this goal.
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