Résumé : The effectiveness and tolerance of antiretroviral therapy with a combination of three reverse transcriptase inhibitors starting at the time of diagnosis (before 2 months of age) was evaluated in four infants with vertically acquired HIV-1 infection. Plasma HIV-1 RNA levels ranged from 230,000 to 1,000,000 copies/ml before onset of triple therapy and fell below 50 copies/ml at 12 to 33 weeks of life in three of the infants. These three children, currently aged 158, 105 and 72 weeks, are asymptomatic, have normal lymphocyte subsets and no hypergammaglobulinaemia. Two children experienced a profound reduction in the amount of proviral DNA detected in blood and have become HIV-1 seronegative, although one of them has had HIV-1 RNA detectable on a single occasion at 114 weeks of life (303 copies/ml). Transient interruption of therapy resulted in a rapid but reversible increase in HIV-1 RNA levels in the third child and was associated with the production of HIV-specific antibodies. The fourth child whose parents were not compliant to treatment and follow-up had a poor virological response. Conclusion: Early treatment of vertically acquired human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection with three reverse transcriptase inhibitors is well tolerated and can result in such suppression of viral replication that specific antibodies are not produced, that proviral DNA falls to the lower limit of quantitation in blood and that all clinical and immunological manifestations of infection are avoided. Parental adhesion is crucial to the effectiveness of therapy.