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Here’s Why HIV Vaccine HVTN 505 Did Not Work

HVTN505 Vaccine Explained by NIH

National Institutes of Health researchers and Duke University release statement after determining an important reason that HVTN 505 vaccine did not prevent HIV in candidate study participants.

In a non-medical person’s non-medical explanation (hint: feel free to read all the jargon from NIH directly): the vaccine helped produce anti-HIV antibodies (the body recognized it as HIV), as well as other antibodies non-specific to HIV (the body got too excited and forgot about the need to kill the HIV) and did not neutralize the HIV cells.

Bummer! Someone should have told the body to quit being distracted and get to work.

In an email interview with, the NIH/NIAID says that the findings from the latest research on why this vaccine study did not finish and eventually deliver a preventive vaccine did not change their previous position that, although ended early, was a non-statistically significant increase in HIV acquisition among volunteers in the vaccine group compared to those in the placebo group.

REMEMBER THIS?: I’m One of The 48 HVTN 505 Infected

“Over time, we find found that the relative rates of infection in both groups remains very similar (53 vaccinees versus 56 placebo recipients) and not statistically significantly different,” says NIH/NIAID in an emailed response to

“Safety is always a concern in research studies, and studies are designed to monitor participants closely. The new information does not alter or raise additional safety concerns.”

When asked if inducing antibodies nonspecific to HIV in this study increase the likelihood of someone contracting HIV if exposed? NIH/NIAID responded by saying, “There is no evidence to that effect.”

NIH continues to monitor the participants of the trial in long-term follow up, according to their statement adding, “NIH covers these costs as part of the trial.”

WATCH: Josh Robbins’ statement to HIV Vaccine Researchers

Watch: Why HIV Vaccine Studys Are Awesomesauce

Today is National #HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (#HVAD) and as many of you know already, prior to my diagnosis, I participated in the HVTN505 Vaccine with Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Trials Unit under the direction of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Although that vaccine study didn’t lead directly to a preventative vaccine, it was no failure. Thank you all for your courage! To learn more about HIV vaccines, please visit:

Posted by I’m Still Josh on Monday, May 18, 2015

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