We prospectively evaluated potential markers and cofactors for the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 86 homosexual men who were seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus antibodies. During three years of follow-up, 19 men developed AIDS. Risk of AIDS was clearly predicted by the total number of circulating OKT4-positive lymphocytes (T4 count) at enrollment, while the corresponding T8 count was unrelated to subsequent AIDS development. Subjects in Manhattan had a higher risk of Kaposi's sarcoma than did subjects in Washington, DC, and the risk of AIDS tended to increase with numerous homosexual partners. Several of 40 potential cofactors defined ex post facto, including receptive fellatio, enemas, methaqualone use, and high levels of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen, appeared to be associated with Kaposi's sarcoma but not with Pneumocystis pneumonia. Our data suggest that potent cofactors for Pneumocystis pneumonia were not prominent, pointing to the need for effective drug therapies, particularly to reduce the high AIDS risk of persons with human immunodeficiency virus infection and low T4 counts.