Recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is an important treatment option for patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) wasting syndrome. Side effects of rhGH are minimal when administered at physiologic and moderately high dosages, as seen in growth hormone deficiency and Turner's syndrome, respectively. The dosage of rhGH is significantly higher to treat wasting syndrome and still is being studied to determine its long-term efficacy and safety. Individuals with HIV infection are at increased risk for adverse effects due to polypharmacy, immune system alterations, and treatment with newer agents that lack long-term safety data. In addition, rhGH's potential for side effects becomes greater when given at high dosages for wasting syndrome. Clinically significant hyperglycemia developed in an HIV-positive man who started rhGH for wasting syndrome 38 days before the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.