After the transition from the acute to the chronic phase of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, complement mediates long-term storage of virions in germinal centers (GC) of lymphoid tissue. The contribution of particular complement receptors (CRs) to virus trapping in GC was studied on tonsillar specimens from HIV-infected individuals. CR2 (CD21) was identified as the main binding site for HIV in GC. Monoclonal antibodies (MAb) blocking the CR2-C3d interaction were shown to detach 62 to 77% of HIV type 1 from tonsillar cells of an individual in the presymptomatic stage. Although they did so at a lower efficiency, these antibodies were able to remove HIV from tonsillar cells of patients under highly active antiretroviral therapy, suggesting that the C3d-CR2 interaction remains a primary entrapment mechanism in treated patients as well. In contrast, removal of HIV was not observed with MAb blocking CR1 or CR3. Thus, targeting CR2 may facilitate new approaches toward a reduction of residual virus in GC.