Objective: TMC125, a next generation, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), demonstrated a remarkable decline of plasma HIV-1 RNA during a phase IIa study. We compared the initial rate of decline of plasma HIV-1 RNA achieved by TMC125 monotherapy with that of a triple class, five-drug regimen, containing drugs from all three currently licensed classes (zidovudine, lamivudine, abacavir, indinavir and nevirapine). Methods: The decline in plasma HIV-1 RNA of 12 HIV-1 infected, antiretroviral (ART) naive patients treated for 1 week with TMC125 monotherapy was compared with that observed in the ERA study (n = 11). The plasma HIV-1 RNA elimination rate constant was calculated based on at least four plasma HIV-1 RNA measurements during the first week of treatment (first-order elimination) and compared using the Student's t test. Results: Median ages were 23 and 38 years for TMC125 and ERA patients, respectively (P = 0.001), median baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA levels were 4.2 and 4.8 log10 copies/ml (P = 0.001) and median baseline CD4 T-cell counts were 458 × 106 and 360 × 106 cells/l (P = 0.08). The median plasma HIV-1 RNA elimination rate constant was 0.68/day in TMC125 treated patients, and 0.56/day in ERA participants (P = 0.24). The median decline in plasma HIV-1 RNA after 7 days was 1.92 and 1.76 log 10 copies (P = 0.77) and the median increase of CD4 T cells was 119 × 106 and 60 × 106 cells/l, respectively (P = 0.29). Conclusion: Monotherapy with TMC125 in ART-naive, HIV-1-infected individuals resulted in a similar rate of decline of plasma HIV-1 RNA during 1 week of therapy as therapy with a five-drug regimen.