Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viremia was evaluated in 73 patients with long-standing infection to investigate its relationship with clinical or biologic parameters and to assess its use as a predictor of clinical progression and death. After adjustment for other parameters, baseline HIV RNA level was significantly associated with baseline clinical stage and CD4 cell count. During follow-up (mean, 14.6 months), 16 patients died; 34 others had clinical progression of disease. In multivariate analysis, mortality was better predicted by baseline CD4 cell count (relative hazard [RH] for 100-cell decrease, 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5-8.2; P = .003) than by HIV RNA (P = .28) or clinical stage. HIV RNA level was the best predictor of clinical progression (RH for 1 log increase, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.6-4.9; P < .001). Monitoring of HIV RNA level may help to identify patients who might benefit from antiretroviral or prophylactic therapy.