BACKGROUND: The study describes a cohort of HIV-infected Jamaican children receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and reports the outcome. METHOD: An observational prospective study was conducted on HIV-infected Jamaican children receiving anti retroviral drug therapy (ART). The outcome measures, weight, height, hospital admissions and length of stay were compared at initiation and within six months of commencing ART. RESULTS: There were 37 (33.6%) of 110 HIV-infected children receiving ART during 2001 to 2003. The median age at commencement was six years (age range 1-16 years) with 54.1% (20) males and 48% AIDS orphans. Care was home-based for 68 % of all cases with the University Hospital of the West Indies managing 27 (73%) and the Bustamante Hospital for Children 10 (27%). The distribution by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clinical class was C (severely symptomatic), 22 (59.5%); B (moderately symptomatic), 8 (21.6%); A (mildly symptomatic), 6 (16.2%) and N (asymptomatic), one (2.7%). Among 14 (36%) children with CD4 counts, 8 (57%) were CDC immune class 2 (moderate immunodeficiency) and 6 (43%) were class 3 (severe immunodeficiency). After commencing ART the mean difference in admissions was–1.5+/-2.55 admissions (95% CI -2.3, -0.6; p < 0.001) and in length of stay was -12.9+/-21 day (95% CI -19.9, -0.5.9; p < 0.001). Antiretroviral therapy resulted in a mean weight gain of 2.8 kg+/-4.9 kg (95% CI 1.0, 4.5; p < 0.003) and a mean gain in height of 1.7 cm+/-2.6 cm (95% CI 0.6, 2.8; p < 0.003). Five children required second line therapy. CONCLUSION: The introduction of antiretroviral therapy has resulted in improved outcomes and is being initiated in older children cared for mainly at home. Limitations in accessing affordable second line agents underscore the need for compliance with first line therapy.