The virus/host interactions during the acute phase of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection help determine the course of disease. During this time period, virus enters the brain. Here, we report clusters of genes whose transcripts are significantly upregulated in the frontal lobe of the brain during acute simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of rhesus monkeys. Many of these genes are involved in interferon (IFN) and/or interleukin (IL)-6 pathways. Although neither IFNalpha nor IFNgamma are elevated in the brain, IL6 is increased. Both IFNalpha and IL6 are elevated in plasma during this acute phase. The upregulation of STAT1, verified by immunohistochemical staining, can be due to both central nervous system (CNS) (SIV and IL6) and peripheral (IFNalpha and IL6) causes, and can itself drive the expression of many of these genes. Examination of the levels of expression of the upregulated genes in the post-acute and long-term phases of infection, as well as in SIV encephalitis, reveals increased expression throughout SIV infection, which may serve to protect the brain, but can have untoward long-term consequences.