Current viral gene therapy vectors effectively transfer genes in vivo at the price of eliciting innate and acquired host responses against the vector and/or transgene. Antigens present in the viral vector and the expression of the transgene both cause cellular and humoral immune responses dependent on the viral vector, the route of administration, and the genotype and infection history of the host. In general, adenoviral vectors cause strong immune responses, which result in only transient expression of the therapeutic gene. Adeno-associated virus and retrovirus vectors elicit weaker immune responses and can therefore result in long-term gene transfer and expression. Methods to avoid host responses, including modification of viral vector and immunosuppression of the host, can increase the longevity and efficiency of gene transfer.