Erythrovirus B19 (B19V) infection may cause red cell aplasia in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has improved the immune function of these patients by modifying the course of B19V infection. The purpose of this study was to estimate the frequency of B19 seroconversion in a cohort of HIV-infected patients and evaluate the occurrence of B19V-related anaemia during the seroconversion period. Adult HIV-infected patients were studied at a public hospital in Niterói, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. IgG and IgM antibodies against B19V were detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and B19 viraemia was assayed by polymerase chain reaction. Medical records were reviewed for any clinical evaluation of anaemia. Seroconversion was detected in 31.8% of the 88 individuals who began the study as anti-B19V IgG-negative. No clinical manifestations of B19V infection were detected during the period of seroconversion. Patients who seroconverted were 5.40 times more likely to have anaemia than those who did not [odds ratio 5.40 (95% confidence interval: 1.33-22.93)]. Anaemia was detected in eight patients. All patients recovered from anaemia by either beginning or continuing HAART, without requiring blood transfusions. In the HAART era, B19V infection may only be associated with a course of disease characterised by less severe chronic anaemia. This milder course of B19V-associated disease is likely due to the increased immune function of HAART-treated patients.