During the 1990s, HIV-1 spread rapidly through drug networks in Ukraine and from there throughout the former Soviet Union. To examine the origins of this epidemic, the genetics of HIV-1 in Ukraine were studied. Proviral DNA from PBMC was extracted and PCR amplified. Part of pol and nearly full genomes of HIV-1 were sequenced and characterized. The predominant genetic form in 163 strains was subtype A (66%), followed by subtypes B (30%), C (2%), D (1%), and a new AB recombinant form (1%). HIV strains from Kiev were diverse having subtypes A, B, C, and D. In Crimea, Donetsk, Poltava, and Odessa, however, the strains were overwhelmingly subtype A, while in Nikolaev subtype B predominated. After the near simultaneous introduction of subtypes A and B in Ukraine, subtype B remained where it was introduced while subtype A spread widely, creating the fastest growing epidemic in the world.