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Is there a vaccine?

No, there is not currently an effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection.

Vaccines are used to prevent many different infections in people. Vaccines work by causing a person's immune system (the body's defense against infections and cancer) to recognize and react to specific germs. If a person is exposed to one of those germs later, the vaccine may protect them from getting infected.

Although there are vaccines that prevent other diseases caused by viruses (including hepatitis B, yellow fever, and even chickenpox), there is no effective vaccine yet for HIV. Most experts think that a vaccine is the best long-term hope for controlling HIV around the world. Researchers are working to develop vaccines for HIV, and several are being tested. It is a difficult process, however, and no one is sure how long it may take to find an effective vaccine.

While there are medicines that can improve the health of people with HIV, there is no cure for HIV. Because there is no vaccine and no cure, it is important that those people who are not infected with HIV stay uninfected and that those living with HIV/AIDS stay healthy.