T-cell responses were evaluated prospectively in 41 patients with acute human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection (30 untreated and 11 receiving zidovudine, lamivudine, and indinavir) and in 38 uninfected adults. By 6-12 months, treated patients had significantly greater median Candida and tetanus lymphoproliferative responses (stimulation index [SI], 76 and 55, respectively) than did untreated patients (SI, 7 and 6, P = .02 and .001, respectively), and the responses of treated patients surpassed those of uninfected adults (SI, 19 and 32, P = .002 and .101, respectively). Unlike the patients in the untreated group, the patients in the treated group mounted a 6-fold increased HIV-1 p24 response (SI increase, 1.0 to 5.7, P = .01) within 3 months. HIV-1-specific cytotoxicity remained detectable in most treated patients. Thus, combination therapy administered within 3-4 months of infection was associated with improved T-cell memory responses that were distinct from those of untreated patients. The amplified HIV-1-specific T- cell responses may help maintain cytotoxic activities.