Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been recommended for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients with a detectable viral load; it typically consists of two reverse transcriptase inhibitors combined with a protease inhibitor. In 1996, Madigan Army Medical Center began offering HAART to HIV-positive patients with a detectable viral load. We retrospectively reviewed the records of our HIV patients before and after the initiation of HAART to determine the impact of HAART on hospitalizations, mortality, and outpatient pharmacy expenditures. Comparing 1997 with 1994 and 1995, we found a greater than 700% increase in the average expenditure on antiretroviral agents after institution of HAART. At the same time, we found a dramatic reduction in hospitalizations and nontraumatic mortality. Therefore, the increase in expenditures on antiretroviral agents may be offset by a reduction in hospitalizations and mortality.