Twenty patients were enrolled in a phase I clinical trial of atevirdine, a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), given in combination with zidovudine for treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. Fifteen patients had received no previous antiretroviral therapy. HIV-1 isolates obtained at 6-week intervals were tested for sensitivity to atevirdine and zidovudine. Two patients developed a rash within 2 weeks of enrollment, and 1 of these developed concomitant fever and hepatitis. No hematopoietic, neurologic, or pancreatic toxicities were observed. Atevirdine had considerable initial interpatient pharmacokinetic variability. Forty-seven percent of patients treated with atevirdine plus zidovudine had increased CD4 lymphocyte counts, and HIV isolates from 62% of patients remained sensitive to atevirdine after 24 weeks of therapy. Atevirdine plus zidovudine was well-tolerated. Additional studies should be done to determine the role of atevirdine in the therapy for HIV infection.