This review summarizes data on the presence and function of different heat shock proteins (Hsp) in the HIV virions and the infected cells. A 60 kD heat shock protein-like molecule is present in the envelope of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 which can specifically interact with the transmembrane glycoprotein gp41. The role of cholesterol in the so-called cholesterol-rich lipid raft where HIV is budding from the infected cells as well as the consequential insertion of cholesterol into the envelope of HIV virion are also discussed. Natural antibodies against 60 kD (Hsp60) and 70 kD (Hsp70) families of Hsp and cholesterol can be detected in most healthy individuals. HIV infection results in a sharp increase in the serum concentration of anti-Hsp70 and cholesterol antibodies whereas no difference in the concentration of anti-Hsp60 antibodies can be detected. Highly active antiretroviral therapy leads to normalization of the levels of both anti-Hsp70 and anti-cholesterol antibodies.