This study demonstrates that syndecan functions as an in trans HIV receptor. We show that syndecan, when expressed in nonpermissive cells, becomes the major mediator for HIV adsorption. This adsorption is mediated by the binding of gp120 to the heparan sulfate chains of syndecan. Although syndecan does not substitute for HIV entry receptors, it enhances the in trans infectivity of a broad range of primate lentiviruses including primary viruses produced from PBMCs. Furthermore, syndecan preserves virus infectivity for a week, whereas unbound virus loses its infectivity in less than a day. Moreover, we obtain evidence suggesting that the vast syndecan-rich endothelial lining of the vasculature can provide a microenvironment which boosts HIV replication in T cells.