HIV-1 is taken up by immature monocyte derived dendritic cells (iMDDCs) into tetraspanin rich caves from which the virus can either be transferred to T lymphocytes or enter into endosomes resulting in degradation. HIV-1 binding and fusion with the DC membrane results in low level de novo infection that can also be transferred to T lymphocytes at a later stage. We have previously reported that HIV-1 can induce partial maturation of iMDDCs at both stages of trafficking. Here we show that CD45⁺ microvesicles (MV) which contaminate purified HIV-1 inocula due to similar size and density, affect DC maturation, de novo HIV-1 infection and transfer to T lymphocytes. Comparing iMDDCs infected with CD45-depleted HIV-1BaL or matched non-depleted preparations, the presence of CD45⁺ MVs was shown to enhance DC maturation and ICAM-1 (CD54) expression, which is involved in DC∶T lymphocyte interactions, while restricting HIV-1 infection of MDDCs. Furthermore, in the DC culture HIV-1 infected (p24⁺) MDDCs were more mature than bystander cells. Depletion of MVs from the HIV-1 inoculum markedly inhibited DC∶T lymphocyte clustering and the induction of alloproliferation as well as limiting HIV-1 transfer from DCs to T lymphocytes. The effects of MV depletion on these functions were reversed by the re-addition of purified MVs from activated but not non-activated SUPT1.CCR5-CL.30 or primary T cells. Analysis of the protein complement of these MVs and of these HIV-1 inocula before and after MV depletion showed that Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) and nef were the likely DC maturation candidates. Recombinant HSP90α and β and nef all induced DC maturation and ICAM-1 expression, greater when combined. These results suggest that MVs contaminating HIV-1 released from infected T lymphocytes may be biologically important, especially in enhancing T cell activation, during uptake by DCs in vitro and in vivo, particularly as MVs have been detected in the circulation of HIV-1 infected subjects.