The immune response to pathogens results in both host resistance and immunopathology. Cytokines and in particular those lymphokines produced by Th1 and Th2 cells play a key role in determining the balance between these two immunologic outcomes. Recent data suggest that interleukin-10, a product of both Th2 cells and macrophages, protects the host against excessive immunopathology. The cytokine environment generated by different pathogens may also influence the course and outcome of infections with unrelated organisms. This relationship may be particularly important in the case of HIV-1 where prior Th1 or Th2 biases established by helminth or intracellular infections may influence either initial viral susceptibility or drive progression to AIDS through immune activation.