Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) accesses the brain early in infection and can lead to neurocognitive disorders. The brain can also serve as a viral reservoir, but how virus is controlled in the brain is unknown. To examine this, CD8-depleting monoclonal antibody was injected into the cerebrospinal fluid of rhesus monkeys with chronic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection. This treatment led to the rapid increase of SIV in the brain. Virus in the brain is maintained by active suppression from the host immune system. This dynamic interaction can be manipulated in efforts to control and eradicate virus from the brain and other reservoirs.