Milestone |

HIV research

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – the etiologic agent of AIDS – is one of the most intensively studied disease organisms in history. Since its first identification in the early 1980s, HIV has transformed into a pandemic, globally infecting more 36 million people and annually contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of patients – particularly in low income countries. This Milestone charts the history of HIV research on an interactive Timeline, from its origins to the latest developments in HIV treatment, vaccines and insights from the study of HIV/AIDS pathogenesis. 

This Milestone is editorially independent, produced with financial support from a third party. About this content.



Following some high-profile clinical trial failures in recent years, the emphasis in HIV/AIDS vaccine research has shifted away from T-cell-based vaccines that control viral replication towards vaccines that block acquisition of infection. Hansen et al. take a novel route to T-cell-based immunity, using cytomegalovirus (CMV) vectors. They find that vaccination with a rhesus-CMV-based vaccine against simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) provides long-term protection from SIV challenge in rhesus macaques. Protection seems to be mediated by tissue-resident T-effector memory responses, suggesting that persistent vectors such as CMV may be effective in HIV/AIDS vaccines.

Letter | | Nature


Advances in care over the last 30 years have helped transform HIV from a fatal disease into a chronic, manageable condition for many people. Innovations in treatment and access are at the core of this progress.

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Innate effector mechanisms contribute to the control of viremia and modulate the quality of the adaptive immune response to HIV-1. Altfeld and Gale discuss the concerted actions of PRR signaling, innate immune cells and innate-adaptive crosstalk that direct the outcome of HIV-1 infection.

Review Article | | Nature Immunology

Understanding the success and failure of the HIV-specific cellular immune response has implications for immunotherapies and vaccines for HIV-1. Migueles and Connors discuss the mechanisms that are most likely responsible for durable and potent immunologic control of HIV-1 by the cellular immune response.

Review Article | | Nature Immunology

Antibody responses to the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins can be classified into three groups. Burton and Mascola discuss how recent insight into the structure and immunology of non-neutralizing, strain-specific and broadly neutralizing antibodies guide HIV-1 vaccine design and therapeutic strategies.

Review Article | | Nature Immunology

An effect of host genetic variation on susceptibility to HIV-1 was identified early in the pandemic. McLaren and Carrington discuss the extent to which additional polymorphisms influence HIV-1 disease progression and how analysis of data sets may discover novel gene variants that affect the outcome of HIV-1.

Review Article | | Nature Immunology

The isolation of HIV-1 was a fundamental step for understanding HIV and the disease it causes. Here, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Anna Laura Ross and Jean-François Delfraissy look back on three decades of research that have changed the lives of people infected with HIV and have inspired hope for a cure.

Timeline | | Nature Reviews Microbiology

Viral reservoirs pose a major challenge in the efforts towards curing HIV. Here, Churchill, Deeks, Margolis, Siliciano and Swanstrom discuss the cells and tissues that constitute the viral reservoir, how best to measure it and how to target this source of persistent infection.

Viewpoint | | Nature Reviews Microbiology

In this article, Eric Freed reviews recent progress in elucidating the steps involved in HIV-1 assembly, release and maturation, highlighting how these events are orchestrated by the viral Gag precursor protein and how this information is being used to develop novel anti-HIV-1 therapeutics.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Microbiology

In this Opinion article, Dan Barouch and Louis Picker discuss recent data regarding the clinical development of novel serotype adenovirus and cytomegalovirus vaccine vectors for use in HIV-1 vaccines.

Opinion | | Nature Reviews Microbiology