Protection from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition will likely require an effective vaccine that elicits antibodies against the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Envs), which are the sole target of neutralizing antibodies and a main focus of vaccine development. Adjuvants have been widely used to augment the magnitude and longevity of the adaptive immune responses to immunizations with HIV-1 Envs as well as to guide the development of specific immune responses. Here we review the adjuvants that have been used in combination with HIV-1 Envs in several pre-clinical and human clinical trials in recent years. We summarize the interactions between the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins and adjuvants, and highlight the routes of vaccine administration for various formulations. We then discuss the use of combinations of different adjuvants, the potential effect of adjuvants on the elicitation of antibodies enriched in somatic hypermutation and containing long complementarity-determining region 3 of the antibody heavy chain, and the elicitation of non-neutralizing antibodies.
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