- The times from infection with the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) to the onset of the first clinical symptom and the development of AIDS were studied prospectively in 98 haemophiliacs and 48 blood transfusion recipients infected with the virus. Patients were followed up for a median of 61 months after infection, the dates of infection being either known exactly or estimated from the interval between the last negative and first positive HIV antibody test result. The rate of progression to AIDS was significantly higher for the transfusion recipients than for the haemophiliacs. The difference in time to the occurrence of the first clinical symptom was less pronounced between the two groups, though pointing in the same direction. The results suggest that on average roughly half of all patients positive for HIV will develop some clinical sign or symptom within five to six years after infection.