In our continuous efforts to identify novel potent HIV-1 NNRTIs, a novel class of 5,7-disubstituted pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine derivatives were rationally designed, synthesized and evaluated for their anti-HIV activities in MT4 cell cultures. Biological results showed that most of the tested compounds displayed excellent activity against wild-type HIV-1 with a wide range of EC50 values from 5.98 to 0.07μM. Among the active compounds, 5a was found to be the most promising analogue with an EC50 of 0.07μM against wild-type HIV-1 and very high selectivity index (SI, 3999). Compound 5a was more effective than the reference drugs nevirapine (by 2-fold) and delavirdine (by 2-fold). In order to further confirm their binding target, an HIV-1 RT inhibitory assay was also performed. Furthermore, SAR analysis among the newly synthesized compounds was discussed and the binding mode of the active compound 5a was rationalized by molecular modeling studies.