Background: Kidney disease remains a prevalent problem in HIV care. The contribution of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV disease factors and traditional factors needs further evaluation. Methods: A cross-sectional study of all patients seen at an HIV outpatient clinic during 2005 was performed. All data were collected from medical record review. Multivariate regression modelling was used to identify independent predictors of lower glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and chronic renal failure (CRF) from factors significant in univariate analysis. eGFR was calculated using the simplified modification of diet in renal disease equation. Results were compared with those for persons from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) matched for age, race and gender. Results: Of 845 HIV-infected persons, 64% were men and 34% were Caucasian, and the mean age was 39.8 years. Thirty per cent of the patients had proteinuria and 43% had eGFR < 90 mL/min/1.73 m2. Persons on HAART (63%) had a lower mean eGFR than those not on HAART (92.0 vs. 101.6). In multivariate analyses, significant predictors of eGFR decline were diagnoses of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, proteinuria, use of tenofovir or stavudine, and lower viral load. Compared with those in NHANES, HIV-infected persons had a lower mean eGFR (94.9 vs. 104.2) and a higher prevalence of CRF (8% vs. 2%). Conclusion: In this cohort, the prevalence of CRF is low, but remains higher than that of the general population. Clinicians should routinely screen for early asymptomatic kidney disease to address risk factors that can be treated. © 2009 British HIV Association.