Rheologically structured vehicle (RSV) gels were developed as delivery systems for vaginal mucosal vaccination with an HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (CN54gp140). RSVs comprised a mucoadhesive matrixforming and vaginal fluid absorbing polymer. The mucoadhesive and rheological properties of the RSVs were evaluated in vitro, and the distribution, antigenicity and release of CN54gp140 were analysed by ELISA. CN54gp140 was uniformly distributed within the RSVs and continuously released in vitro in an antigenically intact form over 24 h. Vaginal administration to rabbits induced specific serum IgG, and IgG and IgA in genital tract secretions. The RSVs are a viable delivery modality for vaginal immunization.