HIV is transmitted most efficiently from cell to cell, and productive infection occurs mainly in activated CD4 T cells. It is postulated that HIV exploits immunological synapses formed between CD4 T cells and antigen-presenting cells to facilitate the targeting and infection of activated CD4 T cells. This study sought to evaluate how the presence of the HIV envelope (Env) in the CD4 T cell immunological synapse affects synapse formation and intracellular signaling to impact the downstream T cell activation events. CD4 T cells were applied to supported lipid bilayers that were reconstituted with HIV Env gp120, anti-T cell receptor (anti-TCR) monoclonal antibody, and ICAM-1 to represent the surface of HIV Env-bearing antigen-presenting cells. The results showed that the HIV Env did not disrupt immunological synapse formation. Instead, the HIV Env accumulated with TCR at the center of the synapse, altered the kinetics of TCR recruitment to the synapse and affected synapse morphology over time. The HIV Env also prolonged Lck phosphorylation at the synapse and enhanced TCR-induced CD69 upregulation, interleukin-2 secretion, and proliferation to promote virus infection. These results suggest that HIV uses the immunological synapse as a conduit not only for selective virus transmission to activated CD4 T cells but also for boosting the T cell activation state, thereby increasing its likelihood of undergoing productive replication in targeted CD4 T cells.