The development of an HIV vaccine remains a pivotal objective in global health. Innovative and emerging prevention strategies, such as use of long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis and monoclonal antibodies, may help reduce HIV transmission. However, the consensus remains: an efficacious, long-lasting and cost-effective vaccine could accelerate the decline of HIV incidence in high-burden countries.

To mark this HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, the Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS) publishes two new viewpoints.

In “Iterative Hypothesis Testing in HIV Vaccine Research: moving Toward Success”, Pervin Anklesaria and Nina Russell summarize the biomedical challenges, as well as the setbacks and advances experienced in studies and trials conducted, and indicate what future research efforts should be focused on. They state: “Now is a critical time to leverage recent learnings and technological advancements to collectively articulate clear hypotheses for rationale immunogen design that can be systematically and rapidly addressed in a coordinated manner with early engagement with relevant communities and regulatory agencies.”

In “Antibodies for HIV prevention – the path forward”, Shelly Malhotra, Rachel Baggaley, Sharonann Lynch, Carmen Perez-Casas, Yvette Raphael and Lynda Stranix-Chibanda propose ways to guide the development of HIV prevention options right from the early stages. They call for accountability in defining a pathway for equitable access to and scale up of medical innovations. They underscore the urgency of involving communities most affected by the research outcomes through all phases of the process. As the authors state, communities must be placed at the core “to ensure accountability and foster dialogue between community networks, governments, global health actors, researchers, and industry so that beneficiaries’ needs are prioritized along the development-to-deployment pathway”.

We encourage you to read these viewpoints and share them widely in your networks to help raise awareness on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.

The Journal of the International AIDS Society is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal, which publishes HIV-related research from various disciplines and particularly encourages submissions in implementation sciences.