Approximately 40 million people worldwide are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Despite HIV's known propensity to infect the CNS and cause neurological disease, HIV neurocognitive disorders remain under-recognized. Although combination antiretroviral therapy has improved the health of millions of those living with HIV, the penetration into the CNS of many such therapies is limited, and patients' quality of life continues to be diminished by milder, residual neurocognitive impairment. Synaptodendritic neuronal injury is emerging as an important mediator of such deficits in HIV. By carefully selecting specific antiretrovirals and supplementing them with neuroprotective agents, physicians might be able to facilitate innate CNS repair, promoting enhanced synaptodendritic plasticity, neural function and clinical neurological status.