Infectious retroviruses have been detected in 22 of 45 randomly selected patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and in other individuals from San Francisco. The AIDS-associated retroviruses (ARV) studied in detail had a type D morphology, Mg2+-dependent reverse transcriptase, and cytopathic effects on lymphocytes. The viruses can be propagated in an established adult human T cell line, HUT-78. They cross-react with antiserum to the lymphadenopathy-associated retrovirus isolated from AIDS patients in France. Antibodies to ARV were found in all 86 AIDS patients and in a high percentage of 88 other homosexual men in San Francisco. This observation indicates the widespread presence of these lymphocytopathic retroviruses and their close association with AIDS.