Accumulating evidence has demonstrated the importance of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and helper T lymphocytes in controlling HIV-1 replication. We have elicited immune responses in rhesus monkeys utilizing DNA vaccines augmented by the administration of IL-2/Ig, a fusion protein consisting of interleukin-2 and the Fc portion of IgG2. These vaccine-elicited immune responses did not prevent infection following a high-dose intravenous challenge with SHIV(89.6P) but did control viremia to nearly undetectable levels and prevented immunodeficiency and clinical disease. In contrast, control monkeys developed high levels of viremia and exhibited a rapid loss of CD4(+) T cells, significant clinical disease progression, and death in half of the animals by day 140 following challenge. Vaccine approaches that elicit immune responses capable of reducing plasma viral loads, but not capable of inducing sterilizing immunity, may still provide substantial clinical benefits.