Using the specific example of how an enveloped virus docks and enters a host CD4 leukocyte, students learn details about the role of cell membrane receptors, lysogenic and lytic phases of viral replication, the precise roles and interactions of white blood cells in the non-specific and specific immune system response, beneficial and deleterious genetic mutations, the challenges of community health, and the ethics of drug patents. A series of activities fill in the students’ base of knowledge as they dive deeply into explorations of how HIV works and the repercussions it has on a cell, a system, an organism and a community. Students explore the mechanics of transcription and translation in the context of a high-jacked cell, and then look at this process from a different angle to assess the effect transposed pieces of DNA have had on evolution. Guided by scientific context, students are challenged to design a drug to cure or prevent further infection that is firmly rooted in the physics, chemistry and biology of the infection process. Students are asked to examine the statistics of drug efficacy using a collaborative method with real-world context. Logic, critical thinking and communication are required to fully grasp the history of a communicable disease that has proliferated due to an array of factors that extend beyond biology into the areas of sociology, economics and politics. Use this case study to teach Next Generation Science Skills in a phenomenon-based manner that captures students and turns them on to research and discovery.