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The musculoskeletal system can be affected by a variety of abnormalities in association with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Although not as common as complications involving other organ systems, such as the pulmonary and the central nervous systems, HIV-associated musculoskeletal disorders are sometimes the initial presentation of the viral illness. Knowledge of the existence and the characteristic appearance of the conditions affecting bone, joint, and muscle in HIV-infected patients is valuable to radiologists for diagnosis and to clinicians for detection and appropriate treatment. We reviewed recent literature to provide a comprehensive assessment of the HIV-associated musculoskeletal disorders, and present radiologic examples from our own collection. This article is divided into two parts. In the first part we review the infectious musculoskeletal disorders associated with HIV illness and AIDS, including cellulitis, abscesses, pyomyositis, septic bursitis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, and bacillary angiomatosis. We also present a comprehensive spectrum of mycobacterial infections, consisting of tuberculous spondylitis and spondylodiskitis, arthritis, osteomyelitis, and tenosynovitis, as well as infections caused by atypical mycobacteria. Part II of this review will concentrate on non-infectious musculoskeletal conditions, including rheumatic disorders and neoplasms.