Renal disease is characterized by the influx of leukocytes into the injured tissue. Before leukocytes can exert their effects on renal damage or repair, they have to reach the site of injury. To recruit specific populations of leukocytes during inflammation is the role of a family of cytokines called chemokines. The characterization of this family has emerged within the past years, yet chemokines have already been the subject of thousands of scientific reports and promise to have many clinical applications. There is good evidence that chemokines contribute to leukocyte infiltration in glomeruli and interstitium and that they play a pivotal role in various renal diseases. The fact that there exist so many chemokines suggests the biological need for redundancy to effect recruitment of immune cells. Although they were originally defined as host defense proteins, chemokines clearly have other functions that extend well beyond the regulation of leukocyte migration. The recent suggestion that chemokines may contribute to a slow progression of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and the very recent identification of chemokine receptors as docking molecules for HIV infection add another aspect to chemokine research. The speed at which researchers are exploring the HIV-chemokine connection is evident in the large number of publications on this topic as well as the rapid translation of publications into possible therapeutic applications. Delineating a precise role for chemokines in mediating pathologic changes is an area of fruitful investigation.