Clinical observation and animal models of candidosis suggest that, although T lymphocytes are important in preventing superficial candidosis, defence against systemic candidosis depends upon humoral immunity. An antibody response to the immunodominant 47 kD antigen of Candida albicans is invariably associated with recovery. The presence of this antibody in patients with chronic mucocutaneous candidosis and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) could account for the rarity of disseminated candidal infection in these conditions. Polyclonal B cell activation may be responsible for the frequency with which this antibody is produced in AIDS. Antibody to the 47 kD antigen could be useful in the treatment and prevention of systemic candidosis, though not in the superficial candidosis of AIDS.