A patient is described who rapidly progressed from primary human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection to death without seroconversion but with consistently high plasma viremia. His asymptomatic sex partner had been HIV-1 seropositive for >8 years prior to transmission. Analysis of viral sequences from these subjects and controls confirmed the transmission event. Although the biologic properties of the patient's virus were unremarkable, he had poor functional immune responses to HIV and an HLA haplotype associated with rapid disease progression. The disparity between immune responses and clinical course in this transmission pair, coupled with infection with an unremarkable HIV-1 isolate, underscores the crucial importance of host factors in HIV-1 pathogenesis.