Human immunodeficiency virus type 1(HIV-1) induces extensive immune cell alterations which can be detected by changes both in serum levels of soluble immune activation products and in several lymphoid phenotypic markers. The current studies were conducted in 70 HIV-1 seropositive subjects to determine whether changes among four important serum immune activation markers (neopterin, beta-2 microglobulin, soluble CD8, and soluble IL-2 receptor) and seven lymphoid phenotypic markers (CD38, HLA-DR, CD57, CD11b, CD45RA, leu8, and CD71) reflect similar or disparate aspects of immune pathology. On the basis of correlation coefficient calculation, four groups of related markers (Fig. 1) were identified: Group A, sIL-2R was related to group B where serum neopterin, beta 2M, sCD8 levels, and lymphocyte CD38 antigen expression correlated closely. Loss of CD45RA or Leu 8 antigens in group C correlated with group B and D markers increase. HLA-D in group D was a more distantly related immune activation marker. Phenotypic markers CD57, CD11b, and CD71 did not correlate with the immune activation processes reflected by the serum and phenotypic marker groups A-D. Correlations between serum and certain lymphoid phenotypic markers were generally stronger later in HIV-1 infection when CD4 levels were less than 500/mm3. This study provides information for selecting markers for investigating immune changes in HIV-1 infection and immune-related diseases. Many serum and lymphoid phenotypic markers reflect related aspects of immune dysregulation. However, some markers can indicate different aspects of disease.