Malnutrition is endemic in developing countries, which also bear the brunt of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic. HIV and its complications have a significant impact on nutritional status. Malnutrition and HIV have deleterious interactions. Dietary inadequacy is a major cause of malnutrition and few studies have been done to assess dietary adequacy in HIV-infected individuals and the factors affecting intake. Dietary intake of 71 consecutive patients was determined using 24-hour dietary recall, with the help of a questionnaire and a structured interview, and then compared with the recommended dietary allowances (RDA). The dietary intake of energy, total fat, fibre, vitamin C and iron were significantly less than the recommended RDA. There was no difference in protein intake. Only 5.7% of males and 16.7% of females reached the recommended energy allowance. The recommended protein allowance was reached by 43.4% males and 44.4% females and 41.5% males and 38.9% females consumed more than the upper limit of the recommended fat intake. Intake of major nutrients was also significantly less when compared to the national average intake. On bivariate analysis, the factors affecting these inadequacies were found to be annual per-capita income, dependency on another for livelihood, CD4 counts more than 200/cubic millimeter and absence of antiretroviral therapy. On multivariate analysis, only dependency on another was found to significantly influence energy intake. Dietary intake of many food constituents is significantly less in HIV patients than that recommended. Dietary counselling and efforts to improve food security are important in management of these patients. © 2008 Taylor & Francis.