The effects of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection on the central nervous system function were studied with electroencephalographic (EEG) and auditory event-related brain potentials (EPRs) in patients infected with HIV and unaffected young adult control subjects (n=10/group). All subjects were assessed once every 15 min for four trial blocks at the same time of day to assess EEG/ERP changes with time on task-induced fatigue. Spectral analysis was applied to the pre- and post-stimulus EEG segments. ERP values were evaluated with respect to group differences for component amplitude and latency measures. Spectral analysis demonstrated that HIV patients evinced greater pre-stimulus delta power over frontal areas compared to control subjects, and less post-stimulus spectral power for the delta, theta, and alpha bands over the central/parietal areas. P300 amplitude was smaller, and latency was marginally longer for the HIV patients compared to control subjects. P300 latency correlated positively with increases in the patient HIV viral load. Time-on-task generally did not affect EEG or ERP measures for either group other than contributing to an overall decrease in neuroelectric responsivity. Group spectral power effects were consistent with differences in arousal/fatigue level. P300 group differences were consistent with declines in cognitive capability, and P300 latency increased with increased viral load. HIV infection negatively affected central nervous system function as measured by EEG and cognitive ERPs in a manner that suggests decreased arousal and increased fatigue in HIV patients.