The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) penetrates the central nervous system, particularly the cerebrospinal fluid, early in the course of HIV infection, and may cause a progressive encephalopathy in patients prior to the development of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Neither the specific mechanism for penetration of the virus into the central nervous system nor the pathophysiological basis for these abnormalities is well understood. We cultured cells from the choroid plexus of 3 individuals who died of causes unrelated to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and demonstrated that these cells can be infected with type 1 HIV. Infection of cells of the choroid plexus may provide an initial route of entry of HIV into the cerebrospinal fluid and, together with the macrophage, a route of entry into the brain.