Abstract Patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been reported to develop abnormalities of the endocrine system and in particular of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. To define the abnormalities of HPA function in AIDS patients better, we performed ACTH and ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone (oCRH) testing in a group of AIDS patients and oCRH testing in a group of healthy subjects. Our study found that in AIDS patients with normal ACTH testing, oCRH testing revealed a variety of subclinical abnormalities of ACTH and cortisol responses. Although we did not find frank adrenal insufficiency in any of these AIDS patients, it remains to be determined if any of the subclinical abnormalities we identified are predictive of clinically significant adrenal insufficiency; it may be that as AIDS patients live longer, the subclinical abnormalities will progress to adrenal insufficiency. (Trends Endocrinol Metab 1997;8:173–180). © 1997, Elsevier Science Inc.