There is a lack of information on whether brief nutrition education can succeed in improving longer-term dietary patterns in disadvantaged populations with HIV/AIDS. In the SMART/EST II Women's Project 466 disadvantaged women with HIV/AIDS were randomized to one of four groups and received a two-phase training consisting of a coping skills/stress management and nutrition education provided either in a group or individually. At baseline the majority of participants had excessive fat and sugar consumption and suboptimal intakes of vegetables, fruits, calcium-rich foods and whole grains. Dietary patterns for all participants improved after the nutrition intervention primarily due to decreases in high fat and high sugar foods such as soda and fried foods and were still significantly better 18 months later. There were only short-term differences in improvements between the four groups. These findings support the value of even brief nutrition education for disadvantaged women living with HIV/AIDS.