The classic kidney disease of HIV infection, HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), is an aggressive form of collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis with accompanying tubular and interstitial lesions. HIVAN was first described among African-Americans and Haitian immigrants with advanced HIV disease, an early suggestion of a strong genetic association. This genetic susceptibility was recently linked to polymorphisms on chromosome 22 in individuals of African descent. The association with advanced HIV infection and evidence from HIV-transgenic mice suggested the possibility that HIV directly infects the kidney and that specific HIV gene expression induces host cellular pathways that are responsible for HIVAN pathogenesis. Although combination antiretroviral therapy has substantially reduced the impact of HIVAN in the United States, continued growth of the HIV epidemic in susceptible African populations may have important public health implications. This article reviews recent progress in the pathogenesis and treatment of HIVAN and describes the changing epidemiology of HIV-related kidney disease.