Effective antiretroviral therapy remains beyond the reach of most human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons living in the third world because of its tremendous cost. The cancer drug, hydroxyurea, inhibits HIV-1 replication in vitro and, when combined with didanosine (ddI), results in significant antiretroviral synergy. In vivo, hydroxyurea specifically targets quiescent lymphocytes and macrophages, important cellular reservoirs for HIV-1, and the combination of ddI plus hydroxyurea effectively reduces plasma HIV-1 RNA levels. Combination ddI-hydroxyurea costs about one-eighth as much as currently recommended triple drug combinations, and several countries in Africa are exploring the feasibility of widescale use of ddI-hydroxyurea for their HIV-infected populations. Intrigued by its potential relevance for Africa, the authors reviewed the literature on the in vitro and clinical efficacy of ddI plus hydroxyurea against HIV. The combination of ddI plus hydroxyurea is an effective and potentially more affordable regimen for HIV-infected persons living in poorer countries.