Given the mucosal transmission of HIV-1, we compared whether a mucosal vaccine could induce mucosal cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and protect rhesus macaques against mucosal infection with simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) more effectively than the same vaccine given subcutaneously. Here we show that mucosal CTLs specific for simian immunodeficiency virus can be induced by intrarectal immunization of macaques with a synthetic-peptide vaccine incorporating the LT(R192G) adjuvant. This response correlated with the level of T-helper response. After intrarectal challenge with pathogenic SHIV-Ku2, viral titers were eliminated more completely (to undetectable levels) both in blood and intestine, a major reservoir for virus replication, in intrarectally immunized animals than in subcutaneously immunized or control macaques. Moreover, CD4+ T cells were better preserved. Thus, induction of CTLs in the intestinal mucosa, a key site of virus replication, with a mucosal AIDS vaccine ameliorates infection by SHIV in non-human primates.