The present epidemic of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) was originally described in homosexual men and subsequently in intravenous drug abusers, Haitians, and hemophiliacs. Profound defects in cell-mediated immunity (CMI) are associated with Kaposi's sarcoma and a variety of serious opportunistic infections. Recently, we and others have encountered a group of children with an otherwise unexplained immune deficiency syndrome and infections of the type found in adults with AIDS. In this report, we describe eight children from the Newark, NJ, metropolitan area born into families with recognized risks for AIDS. These patients have had recurrent febrile illnesses, failure to thrive, hypergammaglobulinemia, and depressed CMI. Four of these children have died. Our experience suggests that children living in high-risk households are susceptible to AIDS and that sexual contact, drug abuse, or exposure to blood products is not necessary for disease transmission.