To determine whether Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) constitutes a contributing factor in AIDS and, conversely, whether the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) alters the course of primary EBV infection in a pediatric population, 62 children born to HIV-infected mothers and prospectively followed were evaluated. EBV infection was documented by EBV-specific serology and polymerase chain reaction and by clinical history. HIV infection status was determined according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pediatric classification system. Demographics from HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected children were comparable. The data suggest that HIV-infected children may acquire primary EBV infection earlier in life. The incidence of accompanying splenomegaly or hepatomegaly (or both) around the time of EBV seroconversion was higher among HIV-infected children than among HIV-uninfected children. In contrast, HIV disease progression and HIV-1 RNA load did not seem to be influenced by primary EBV infection.