Infectivity of free and cell-associated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) treated in vitro at pH 7.4 to 4.9 for 2 hours was assessed on susceptible CEM-ss cells. Viral activity was monitored by cytopathology and production of reverse transcriptase and p24 antigen. The infectivity of cell-free virus was gradually inactivated and at pH 5.4 was completely lost, with or without subsequent adjustment of pH to neutral. Virus-producing cells also gradually lost their ability to infect as the pH decreased; however, restoration of neutral pH resulted in regained infectivity. Since the pH values used in the study are similar to those found at various entry sites of the human body, the data may be relevant to the mode of transmittal of HIV.