The emergence of HIV in the United States has had important implications in the surgical setting. This blood-borne pathogen poses risks to both the surgeon and the patient undergoing an orthopaedic procedure. Although there has been research regarding the likelihood of orthopaedic surgeons contracting HIV during a surgical procedure, the correlation of HIV with postoperative prognosis has not been extensively examined. Because HIV-positive patients may be immunodeficient, they are at increased risk for certain postoperative complications, especially infection. Orthopaedic surgeons should have a thorough understanding of the effects of this disease on patients to optimize preoperative decision making, intraoperative care, and postoperative recovery.