Future prospects for new vaccines against sexually transmitted infections

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Purpose of review

This review provides an update on the need, development status, and important next steps for advancing development of vaccines against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including herpes simplex virus (HSV), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea), Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia), and Treponema pallidum (syphilis).

Recent findings

Global estimates suggest that more than a million STIs are acquired every day, and many new and emerging challenges to STI control highlight the critical need for development of new STI vaccines. Several therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine candidates are in Phase I/II clinical trials, and one subunit vaccine has shown sustained reductions in genital lesions and viral shedding, providing hope that an effective HSV vaccine is on the horizon. The first vaccine candidate for genital chlamydia infection has entered Phase I trials, and several more are in the pipeline. Use of novel technological approaches will likely see viable vaccine candidates for gonorrhea and syphilis in the future. The global STI vaccine roadmap outlines key activities to further advance STI vaccine development.


Major progress is being made in addressing the large global unmet need for STI vaccines. With continued collaboration and support, these critically important vaccines for global sexual and reproductive health can become a reality.

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