Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are innate immune cells that are specialized to produce interferon-alpha (IFNα) and participate in activating adaptive immune responses. Although IFNα inhibits HIV-1 (HIV) replication in vitro, pDCs may act as inflammatory and immunosuppressive dendritic cells (DCs) rather than classical antigen-presenting cells during chronic HIV infection in vivo, contributing more to HIV pathogenesis than to protection. Improved understanding of HIV-pDC interactions may yield potential new avenues of discovery to prevent HIV transmission, to blunt chronic immune activation and exhaustion, and to enhance beneficial adaptive immune responses. In this chapter we discuss pDC biology, including pDC development from progenitors, trafficking and localization of pDCs in the body, and signaling pathways involved in pDC activation. We focus on the role of pDCs in HIV transmission, chronic disease progression and immune activation, and immunosuppression through regulatory T cell development. Lastly, we discuss potential future directions for the field which are needed to strengthen our current understanding of the role of pDCs in HIV transmission and pathogenesis.