The availability of a small laboratory animal model suitable for the evaluation of methods for prevention and treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection would be a valuable resource for AIDS research. Here we describe the infection of a strain of domestic rabbits by intraperitoneal inoculation with cell-free human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Evidence of infection includes the presence of an immune response that has persisted for almost 3 years and the detection of an reisolation of infectious virus from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and other tissues during the first 2 years. Typical viral proteins, DNA and RNA patterns, were observed in rabbit PBMCs and in cells infected by cocultivation with rabbit PBMCs. While a number of possible pathological changes were evaluated in infected rabbits, the presence of changes in lymph node structure similar to those reported in infected humans merits further investigation.