Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) is a clinicopathologic entity that includes proteinuria, azotemia, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis or mesangial hyperplasia, and tubulointerstitial disease. The incidence of HIVAN is increased in black patients and variable depending on the age and geographic area. The objective of this study was to describe relevant clinical and pathological findings in 30 children with HIVAN followed at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Our experience of the last 12 years showed a spectrum of HIVAN that seems to be coincident with the degree of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) symptomatology. By renal sonograms and frequent urinalysis, we identified children undergoing the early stages of HIVAN with enlarged echogenic kidneys, proteinuria, and "urine microcysts". HIVAN did not necessarily progress rapidly to end-stage renal disease. Nephrotic syndrome or chronic renal insufficiency were late manifestations of HIVAN. Children with HIVAN were likely to develop transient electrolyte disorders, heavy proteinuria, and acute renal failure due to systemic infectious episodes or nephrotoxic drugs. HIVAN was associated with other HIV-induced illnesses and high mortality rates. Early detection and careful clinical follow-up of children with HIVAN may reduce the incidence of renal-cardiovascular complications and improve their quality of life.