Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome have high rates of psychiatric illness. The effective management of these psychiatric conditions can improve a patient's quality of life and may improve antiretroviral adherence. Care providers for patients with HIV infection frequently encounter clinical situations in which psychotropic medications are needed or are being used. Those clinical situations require familiarity with the broad category of medications termed "psychotropic." That familiarity should include a basic understanding of indications, adverse effects, and drug interactions. In particular, it is very important to recognize the many potential interactions based on cytochrome P450 metabolism, which is common to many psychotropics, the protease inhibitors, and the nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors. In a brief review of the use of psychotropic medications in patients with HIV infection, we discuss indications, adverse effects, and drug interactions for commonly used antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, antipsychotics, psychostimulants, and drugs of abuse.