The effects of RU-486, a glucocorticoid antagonist, on HIV infection and replication in depressed and nondepressed women were studied using ex vivo models of HIV infection. RU-486 treatment of cells decreased HIV reverse transcriptase activity of monocyte-derived macrophages in a model of acute infectivity. RU-486 also decreased HIV viral replication in the chronically-infected T-cell line ACH-2, but not in the promonocyte cell line U1. No differences were associated with depression status. Thus, glucocorticoid antagonism may suppress HIV infectivity and replication ex vivo. Studies to determine the role of glucocorticoid antagonists in the host defense against HIV should be performed.