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HIV persistence in patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy is a major impediment to the cure of HIV/AIDS. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying HIV persistence in vivo have not been fully elucidated. This lack of basic knowledge has hindered progress in this area. The in vivo analysis of HIV persistence and the implementation of curative strategies would benefit from animal models that accurately recapitulate key aspects of the human condition. This Review summarizes the contribution that humanized mouse models of HIV infection have made to the field of HIV cure research. Even though these models have been shown to be highly informative in many specific areas, their great potential to serve as excellent platforms for discovery in HIV pathogenesis and treatment has yet to be fully developed.