The HIV global pandemic continues to rage with over 33 million people living with the disease. Although multidrug therapy has improved the prognosis for those infected by the virus, it has not eradicated the infection. Immunological therapies, including therapeutic vaccines, are needed to supplement drug therapy in the search for a 'functional cure' for HIV. DermaVir (Genetic Immunity Kft, Budapest, Hungary and McLean, Virginia, USA), an experimental HIV/AIDS therapeutic vaccine, combines three key elements of rational therapeutic vaccine design: a single plasmid DNA (pDNA) immunogen expressing 15 HIV antigens, a synthetic pDNA nanomedicine formulation and a dendritic cell-targeting topical-vaccine administration. DermaVir's novel mechanism of action, natural transport by epidermal Langerhans cells to the lymph nodes to express the pDNA-encoded HIV antigens and induce precursor/memory T cells with high proliferation capacity, has been consistently demonstrated in mouse, rabbit, primate and human subjects. Safety, immunogenicity and preliminary efficacy of DermaVir have been clinically demonstrated in HIV-infected human subjects. The DermaVir technology platform for dendritic cell-based therapeutic vaccination might offer a new treatment paradigm for cancer and infectious diseases.