We conducted detailed virological evaluations of 16 HIV-1-infected paediatric patients treated with 3TC (lamivudine) monotherapy. High-level phenotypic resistance against this compound (up to 2,500-fold) was seen in virtually all cases, usually within 8-12 weeks of initiation of therapy. This was concomitant with the appearance of the M184V mutation in viral reverse transcriptase, previously shown to be responsiblefor such resistance. Viral burden fell in virtually all cases after commencement of therapy, and remained below baseline in each instance studied, despite a rebound effect and the appearance of drug resistance. Viral isolates from some patients underwent a switch from a non-syncytium-inducing (NSI) to a syncytium-inducing (SI) phenotype during the course of the study, although no relationship was apparent between dose of drug employed, time to development of drug resistance or time of appearance of SI phenotype.