Acute pancreatitis, reported in 17% of pediatric patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), is said to have a poor prognosis. We describe the pancreatic changes observed at autopsy from 71 children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and document their nature, extent, and clinical relevance. The median age at autopsy of the children was 17 months (range, 2 months to 19 years); 38 were boys and 33 were girls. Parental intravenous drug use was the most frequent risk factor for AIDS, followed by blood transfusions. Respiratory failure and sepsis constituted the predominant causes of death. Nonspecific changes, such as edema, inflammation, fibrosis, inspissated material in acini and ducts, and enlarged Langerhans' islet predominated. Acute and chronic pancreatitis were mild except in one instance of a fatal acute probably dideoxyinosine-associated pancreatitis. Pancreatic involvement by opportunistic infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), Mycobacterium avium intracellulare (MAI), and Candida, was focal and rare despite the high prevalence of these infections at autopsy. Focal lymphoplasmacytic infiltration and vascular calcifications were also observed. We conclude that pancreatic changes were frequently noted at autopsy in children with AIDS. They were usually mild, reflected systemic disease states, and were usually not life threatening. The incidence of opportunistic infections of the pancreas was low.