A model is proposed in which a neurovirulent, microglial-passaged, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is used to produce central nervous system (CNS) pathology and behavioral deficits in rhesus monkeys reminiscent of those seen in humans infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The time course of disease progression was characterized by using functional measures of cognition and motor skill, as well as neurophysiologic monitoring. Concomitant assessment of immunological and virological parameters illustrated correspondence between impaired behavioral performance and viral pathogenesis. Convergent results were obtained from neuropathological findings indicative of significant CNS disease. In ongoing studies, this SIV model is being used to explore the behavioral sequelae of immunodeficiency virus infection, the viral and host factors leading to neurologic dysfunction, and to begin testing potential therapeutic agents.