We previously reported that HIV protease inhibitor, ritonavir, could inhibit cholesterol efflux and induce endothelial dysfunction. In this study, we further determined the effects and molecular mechanisms of a clinically relevant combination of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) drugs on in vitro cholesterol efflux from human macrophage-derived foam cells. Foam cells derived from human monocyte cell line (THP-1) and periphery blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) treated with HAART drugs including stavudine, didanosine and indinavir individually or in combination of three drugs (3-plex), followed by the initiation of cholesterol efflux with apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I). Clinically relevant concentrations of HAART 3-plex significantly reduced cholesterol efflux in foam cells derived from THP-1 and PBMCs. HAART 3-plex significantly reduced the intracellular cholesterol transport molecule caveolin-1, whereas it increased superoxide anion production in THP-1 foam cells as compared with controls. Furthermore, mitochondrial membrane potential was significantly reduced, whereas the expression of NADPH oxidase subunit p67(phox) was increased in HAART 3-plex-treated macrophages. Consequently, antioxidants including ginsenosides Rb1 and Rg1, S-allyl cysteine sulphoxide (SACS), simvastatin (SVT) and vitamin E significantly abolished HAART 3-plex-induced inhibition of cholesterol efflux. Therefore, HAART drugs significantly inhibit cholesterol efflux from human macrophage-derived foam cells through downregulation of caveolin-1 and increase of oxidative stress.