Aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA) was fractionated by a combination of dialysis, ultrafiltration, and gel permeation chromatography. The number average and weight average molecular weights of the ATA fractions were determined by the universal calibration method. The sulfonic acid analogue of ATA was prepared and separated in high and low molecular weight fractions. The phosphonic acid analogue of ATA was also synthesized. All of the ATA fractions were tested for prevention of the cytopathic effect of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in MT-4 cell culture as well as against HIV-1 in CEM cell culture. The abilities of the fractions and analogues to inhibit syncytium formation between HIV-1- and HIV-2-infected HUT-78 cells and uninfected MOLT-4 cells were evaluated. In addition, the fractions and analogues were tested for cytotoxicity in mock-infected MT-4 cells, prevention of the binding of the OKT4A monoclonal antibody to the CD4 receptor, inhibition of the binding of anti-gp120 monoclonal antibody to gp120, inhibition of attachment of HIV-1 virions to MT-4 cells, and inhibition of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. In all of these assays except cytotoxicity, there was a correlation of potency with molecular weight. The higher the molecular weight, the higher the activity. Several of the lower molecular weight fractions of ATA, which bound to gp120 but not to CD4, prevented HIV-1 and HIV-2 cytopathicity. A similar profile was observed for the phosphonic acid analogue of ATA and the lower molecular weight fraction of the sulfonic acid analogue. The results on the ATA fractions indicate that the binding of ATA to gp120 in the absence of CD4 binding is sufficient for anti-HIV activity. The active compounds bind more avidly to gp120 than to CD4. The anti-HIV activity of the ATA fractions is due to inhibition of virus binding due to an interference with the gp120-CD4 interaction.