In 2014, 3.2 million children (< 15 years of age) were estimated to be living with HIV and AIDS worldwide, with the 240,000 newly infected children in the past year, i.e., another child infected approximately every two minutes . The primary mode of HIV infection is through mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), occurring either in utero, intrapartum, or during breastfeeding. The effects of HIV-1 on the central nervous system (CNS) are putatively accepted to be mediated, in part, via viral proteins, such as Tat and gp120. The current review focuses on the targets of HIV-1 proteins during the development of the dopamine (DA) system, which appears to be specifically susceptible in HIV-1-infected children. Collectively, the data suggest that the DA system is a clinically relevant target in chronic HIV-1 infection, is one of the major targets in pediatric HIV-1 CNS infection, and may be specifically susceptible during development. The present review discusses the development of the DA system, follows the possible targets of the HIV-1 proteins during the development of the DA system, and suggests potential therapeutic approaches. By coupling our growing understanding of the development of the CNS with the pronounced age-related differences in disease progression, new light may be shed on the neurological and neurocognitive deficits that follow HIV-1 infection.