HIV infection can persist in spite of efficacious antiretroviral therapies. Although incomplete inhibition of viral replication may contribute to this phenomenon, this is largely due to the early establishment of a stable reservoir of latently infected cells. Thus, life-long antiviral therapy may be needed to control HIV. Such therapy is prone to drug resistance and cumulative side effects and is an unbearable financial burden for regions of the world hit hardest by the epidemic. This review discusses our current understanding of HIV persistence and the limitations of potential approaches to eradicate the virus and accordingly pleads for a joint multidisciplinary effort toward two highly related goals: the development of an HIV prophylactic vaccine and the achievement of long-term drug-free remissions in HIV-infected individuals.