The HIV-1 pandemic is a complex mix of diverse epidemics within and between countries and regions of the world, and is undoubtedly the defining public-health crisis of our time. Research has deepened our understanding of how the virus replicates, manipulates, and hides in an infected person. Although our understanding of pathogenesis and transmission dynamics has become more nuanced and prevention options have expanded, a cure or protective vaccine remains elusive. Antiretroviral treatment has transformed AIDS from an inevitably fatal condition to a chronic, manageable disease in some settings. This transformation has yet to be realised in those parts of the world that continue to bear a disproportionate burden of new HIV-1 infections and are most affected by increasing morbidity and mortality. This Seminar provides an update on epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention interventions pertinent to HIV-1.