A series of novel 1-aryl-3-methyl-1H,3H-thiazolo[3,4-a]benzimidazoles, TBZ analogues, were synthesized and investigated as anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) agents in order to study the effects of structural modifications on antiviral activity and cytotoxicity. They were proved to inhibit significantly HIV-1 replication in vitro without showing inhibitory activity on HIV-2 or simian immunodeficiency virus. Their potency was influenced by the presence of suitable substituents in the phenyl ring at C-1 as well as by their stereochemical characteristics. In fact, the most active compound of the series was the trans-1-(2,6-difluorophenyl)-3-methyl-1H,3H-thiazolo[3,4- a]benzimidazole, in which the butterfly-like conformation is stabilized by two intramolecular hydrogen bonds between the fluorine atoms and H-1 and H-3. This was made possible by the trans arrangement of C-1 and C-3 substituents, as shown by X-ray and NMR analysis.