Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections are common and produce not only a primary infection, but also latent and recurrent infections. Therefore, the goals of a HSV vaccine are different from other vaccines. In this review, the goals of both prophylactic and therapeutic HSV vaccines are discussed and related to the immunobiology of acute and recurrent HSV infections. Next, the vaccine strategies that have been and are being evaluated for control of HSV disease are described. Current approaches take advantage of many of the modern methodologies for vaccine development. Thus, as we await final evaluations of subunit HSV glycoprotein vaccines, early phase I trails are evaluating newer vaccine approaches including DNA-based vaccines and replication-impaired viruses. The definitive HSV vaccine may await increased knowledge of the optimal viral antigen(s) and routes to induce genital tract immunity.