The recent evidence in Thailand for protection from acquisition of HIV through vaccination in a mostly heterosexual population has generated considerable hope. Building upon these results and the analysis of the correlates of risk remains among the highest priorities. Improved vaccine concepts including heterologous prime-boost regimens, improved proteins with potent adjuvants and new vectors expressing mosaic antigens may soon enter clinical development to assess vaccine efficacy in men who have sex with men. Identifying heterosexual populations with sufficient HIV incidence for the conduct of efficacy trials represents perhaps the main challenge in Asia. Fostering translational research efforts in Asian countries may benefit from the development of master strategic plans and program management processes.