The San Francisco Men's Health Study is a prospective study of the epidemiology and natural history of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in a cohort of 1034 single men, 25 to 54 years of age, recruited by multistage probability sampling. At entry, June 1984 through January 1985, the seropositivity rate for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among homosexual/bisexual study participants was 48.5%. No heterosexual participants were HIV seropositive. Among homosexual/bisexual men reporting no male sexual partners in the two years before entry into the study, seropositivity was 17.6%. For those reporting more than 50 partners, seropositivity was 70.8%. Only receptive anal/genital contact had a significantly elevated risk of HIV infection. Douching was the only ancillary sexual practice that contributed significantly to risk of infection.