In addition to CD4, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) requires a coreceptor for entry into target cells. The chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CCR5, members of the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily, have been identified as the principal coreceptors for T cell line-tropic and macrophage-tropic HIV-1 isolates, respectively. The updated coreceptor repertoire includes numerous members, mostly chemokine receptors and related orphans. These discoveries provide a new framework for understanding critical features of the basic biology of HIV-1, including the selective tropism of individual viral variants for different CD4+ target cells and the membrane fusion mechanism governing virus entry. The coreceptors also provide molecular perspectives on central puzzles of HIV-1 disease, including the selective transmission of macrophage-tropic variants, the appearance of T cell line-tropic variants in many infected persons during progression to AIDS, and differing susceptibilities of individuals to infection and disease progression. Genetic findings have yielded major insights into the in vivo roles of individual coreceptors and their ligands; of particular importance is the discovery of an inactivating mutation in the CCR5 gene which, in homozygous form, confers strong resistance to HIV-1 infection. Beyond providing new perspectives on fundamental aspects of HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis, the coreceptors suggest new avenues for developing novel therapeutic and preventative strategies to combat the AIDS epidemic.