Summary Management of the increasing frequency of aciclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections among immunocompromised human immunodeficiency virus-infected people demands additional treatment options. We report the case of a 38-year-old patient with acquired immune deficiency syndrome who suffered from a perianal butterfly ulcer, which was HSV-2 positive by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. The ulcer appeared during treatment of a cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonitis with ganciclovir. Despite additional valaciclovir therapy the lesion gradually progressed in size. Investigations including histology, PCR analysis and in situ hybridization of a biopsy from the growing ulcer margin confirmed the presence of HSV-2 infection. Importantly, HSV isolates from this specimen were resistant to aciclovir. Based on a report about the successful treatment of aciclovir-resistant HSV infection with cidofovir, our patient received this drug intravenously at a dose of 5 mg kg−1 body weight once weekly for a total of 3 weeks. Concomitant oral probenecid and prehydration were administered to minimize nephrotoxicity. Within 30 days of treatment the ulcer had almost (> 95%) completely healed. We conclude that cidofovir is a potent antiviral drug with a potential usefulness in the treatment of aciclovir-resistant HSV-2 infection. It deserves further investigation in clinical trials.