In vivo proton spectroscopy has demonstrated abnormalities in the cerebral metabolite ratios from subjects with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some of the sequences employed are subject to T1 or T2 weighting, which may affect spectroscopic interpretation. The relaxation times of choline (Cho), creatine (Cr), and N-acetyl (NA) resonances have been estimated at 1.5 T in 21 patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and 8 controls using gradient localised, spin-echo spectroscopic sequences of varying echo and repetition times. A statistically significant increase in the T2 of NA was found in the HIV seropositive patients who had diffuse abnormalities on MR imaging consistent with HIV encephalopathy (493 +/- 199 ms) when compared to controls (292 +/- 118 ms; p < .05). No other statistically significant differences were found in the relaxation times between patients and control subjects. These results demonstrate that signals from the NA resonance obtained using long echo time sequences in subjects who are HIV seropositive are not solely indicative of metabolite concentration.