Is There an HIV Vaccine?

We’re not going to beat around the bush. No, there is not an HIV vaccine available today. Several highly respected research organizations and pharmaceutical companies are working around the clock to develop a solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but no vaccination treatments have been proven or approved for use.

On the upside, recent breakthrough medical treatments are helping many HIV-positive individuals lead long, healthy, fulfilling lives with fewer symptoms, so we know science is headed in the right direction. That said, until there is a vaccine that can help prevent infection altogether, there are some easy ways to lower your risk. These include always using condoms when you have sex, being monogamous with your partner, getting tested (you can even use the rapid-result OraQuick at-home test) and never sharing needles.

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, there is a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medication that can reduce the likelihood that infection will actually occur. The catch? You have to start taking it within 72 hours of exposure. So make an appointment with your health care provider immediately if you have had sexual contact or body fluid exchange with somebody who is—or might be—HIV-positive.