Immune activation associated with HIV infection declines after highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), but may persist or recur in some patients. It is not clear whether this reflects a resurgence of HIV replication or another cause of immune activation, such as inflammatory reactions to opportunistic pathogens (immune restoration disease [IRD]). Here, we studied plasma and cellular immune activation markers in adult HIV-1 patients who had received HAART for >12 months and maintained plasma HIV RNA levels of, 400 copies/ml for >6 months. Plasma interleukin 1 receptor antagonist and tumor necrosis factor receptor I levels were similar in patients and HIV-negative control subjects, but the highest levels occurred mainly in patients with a history of IRD. In contrast, expression of HLA-DR and CD38 on monocytes and of HLA-DR on CD8(+) T cells was higher in patients than in control subjects. Thus, cellular markers of immune activation are abnormal in some patients with a good virological response to HAART, and abnormalities of plasma immune activation markers correlate with a history of IRD.