Macrophages play a central role in establishing a specific immune response by acting as professional antigen presenting cells (APC) for T cells leading to a vigorous immune response. In order to analyze if Herpes simplex Virus (HSV) type 1 infection might affect the macrophage APC-function, monocyte-derived human macrophages were infected with HSV-1 strain F in vitro. Cocultures with allogeneic T cells revealed a strongly impaired stimulatory capacity of HSV-infected macrophages compared to uninfected controls which was not owing to a productive viral infection in macrophages. An increased expression of Fas ligand (FasL/CD95L) was detected in HSV-infected macrophages by FACS analysis. Although the majority of the macrophages expressed high levels of Fas (CD95/Apo-1), the HSV-induced upregulation of FasL did not result in an increased autocrine apoptosis of macrophages which might be related to endogenous expression of the apoptosis inhibitor FLICE inhibitory protein (FLIP). However, substantial apoptosis occurred in peripheral T cells as well as Fas-sensitive Jurkat T cells when cocultured with HSV-infected macrophages. These findings suggest that the paracrine killing of activated T cells by FasL expressing APC might be a novel strategy of immune evasion by HSV.