Myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DCs) are important mediators of both innate and adaptive immunity against pathogens such as HIV. During the course of HIV infection, blood DC numbers fall substantially. In the present study, we sought to determine how early in HIV infection the reduction occurs and whether the remaining DC subsets maintain functional capacity. We find that both myeloid DC and plasmacytoid DC levels decline very early during acute HIV infection. Despite the initial reduction in numbers, those DCs that remain in circulation retain their function and are able to stimulate allogeneic T-cell responses, and up-regulate maturation markers plus produce cytokines/chemokines in response to stimulation with TLR7/8 agonists. Notably, DCs from HIV-infected subjects produced significantly higher levels of cytokines/chemokines in response to stimulation with TLR7/8 agonists than DCs from uninfected controls. Further examination of gene expression profiles indicated in vivo activation, either directly or indirectly, of DCs during HIV infection. Taken together, our data demonstrate that despite the reduction in circulating DC numbers, those that remain in the blood display hyperfunctionality and implicates a possible role for DCs in promoting chronic immune activation.