While African Americans in the United States are disproportionately affected by HIV, they are less likely to take antiretroviral therapies. Different first-line antiretroviral therapies are associated with short-term and long-term adverse event (AE) risks. We estimated the willingness of antiretroviral-naïve, HIV-positive African Americans to accept risks of acute AEs with known outcomes and long-term AEs with uncertain outcomes in exchange for virologic suppression. We estimated the relative importance of short-term and long-term AE risks. Two hundred thirty-five subjects were recruited through eight clinics in the United States. One hundred fifty-eight subjects met study inclusion criteria. One hundred fifty-three subjects completed a series of choice-format conjoint trade-off tasks. In each task, subjects were asked to choose between two hypothetical treatments with varying levels of virologic failure, risks of hypersensitivity reaction, decreases in bone mineral density (BMD), and renal impairment, and outcome uncertainty associated with the risks of decreased BMD and renal impairment. Attributes were expressed as probabilities of occurrence. We calculated the relative importance of each AE and the level of risk subjects would accept to reduce the risk of virologic failure. Subjects indicated that short-term AEs with relatively certain outcomes are preferred to long-term AEs with uncertain outcomes. Subjects were strongly averse to the risk of decreased BMD that could not be treated successfully or when the outcome was uncertain and to the risk of renal impairment that could not be treated successfully. Subjects were willing to accept increased risks of AEs in exchange for lower risk of virologic failure.