The chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CCR5 are used as co-receptors by the T cell-tropic (X4) and macrophage-tropic (R5) HIV-1 strains, respectively, for entering their host cells. Viral entry can be inhibited by the natural ligands for CXCR4, the CXC chemokine SDF-1 and CCR5, the CC chemokines RANTES, MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta. Several peptidic compounds, T22 (an 18-mer), T134 (a 14-mer), ALX40-4C (a 9-mer) and CGP 64222 (also a 9-mer), have been identified as CXCR4 antagonists and show anti-HIV activity. Also, the HIV-1 tat protein has been described as a 'natural' CXCR4 antagonist with anti-HIV-1 activity. The most potent and specific CXCR4 antagonists are the bicyclam derivatives, which also potently block X4 HIV replication. AMD3100 has proved to be a highly specific CXCR4 antagonist, which consistently blocks the outgrowth of all X4 HIV and dual-tropic (R5/X4) variants that use CXCR4 for entering the cells (cell lines, CXCR4-transfected cell lines, lymphocytes or monocytes/ macrophages). From the bicyclam analogues, AMD3100 was selected as the clinical drug candidate, which, after initial Phase I (safety) studies, has proceeded to Phase II (efficacy) trials. The first non-peptidic compound that interacts with CCR5, and not with CXCR4, is a quaternary ammonium derivative, called TAK-779, which also has potent but variable anti-HIV activity. We believe that HIV entry/fusion inhibitors will become important new antiviral agents to combat AIDS. However, like the current clinically approved agents, they will need to be used in combinations consisting of antivirals that target other aspects of the HIV replication cycle, such as reverse transcriptase and protease, to obtain optimum therapeutic effects.