Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is an independent predictor of major cardiovascular events. Cardiovascular risk is increased among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. To assess LV mass/hypertrophy in HIV infection, 654 women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIVStudy underwent transthoracic echocardiography. There were 454 HIV-infected and 200 uninfected women, mean age 40.8 +/- 9.3 years. LVmass/height(2.7) was similar between the HIV-infected and the HIV-uninfected groups (41.4 +/- 11.1 vs. 39.9 +/- 10.3 g/h(2.7); p = 0.37). The prevalence of LVH was similar between the two groups (LVH by LV mass/height(2.7) criteria 15.0% vs. 13.0%, p = 0.29). Relative wall thickness (RWT), defined as the ratio of LV wall thickness to cavity diameter, was also similar between the HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected groups (0.36 +/- 0.05 vs. 0.37 +/- 0.06, p = 0.16). On multiple linear regression analysis adjusting for age, W/H ratio, triceps skinfold thickness, systolic/diastolic BP, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia; HIV status (b = 2.08, p = 0.02, CI 0.27-3.88); weight (b per kg = 0.15, p < 0.01, CI 0.08-0.22); and smoking duration (b per one-year increase = 0.08, p = 0.03, CI 0.01-0.16) were independent correlates of LV mass/height(2.7) (Model R(2) = 0.20, p < 0.001). Weight (aOR = 1.04, CI 1.01-1.06) and smoking duration (aOR = 1.03, CI 1.01-1.06) were independent correlates of LVH. Being HIV negative, increased age, increased triceps skinfold thickness, and higher W/H ratio were independent correlates of higher RWT. Among HIV-infected women, higher LV mass was not associated with a history of AIDS-defining illness, nadir CD4(+) count <200 cells/microl, or with the duration of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Women taking NRTIs had higher LV mass. Higher RWT was associated with current CD4(+) count. In conclusion, HIV infection is associated with greater LV mass but not with a higher prevalence of LVH. Among HIV-infected women, RWT, but not LV mass, is associated with the degree of immunosuppression.