Active nuclear importation of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 (HIV-1) preintegration complex (PIC) is required for the productive infection of nondividing cells, but it is believed to be dispensable for the infection of proliferating cells, such as activated T lymphocytes. To investigate this question, we exploited the properties of the small arylene bis (methyl ketone) compound CNI-H0294. We have previously shown that this compound associated with the HIV-1 matrix protein nuclear localization sequence and blocked binding of the HIV-1 PIC to yeast karyopherin α. CNI-H0294 abrogated nuclear importation of the HIV-1 genome in macrophages and effectively inhibited infection of nondividing cells. In this study we demonstrate that CNI-H0294 inhibits binding of the HIV-1 PIC to human karyopherin α and reduces nuclear importation of the viral genome in primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We also demonstrate that CNI-H0294 inhibits acute infection of PBMC cultures in vitro with a primary isolate of HIV-1 and reduces virus replication and virus load in cultures of endogenously infected PBMCs from seropositive individuals. Thus, as for infection of nondividing, terminally differentiated macrophages, HIV-1 uses active nuclear importation of the virus genome to infect activated CD4+ T cells. These results support nuclear importation as a novel target and CNI-H0294 and its derivatives as novel compounds for therapeutic intervention in HIV infection and AIDS.