Many hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients are also infected with HIV, and undergo antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Due to changes in HIV burden and immunologic status, HIV ARV treatment may have indirect effects on the HCV population, which could impact the effectiveness of subsequent HCV protease inhibitor (PI) treatment. The genetic variability of the protease-encoding HCV NS3 gene was evaluated in 10 co-infected patients initiating ARVs (both before and after ARV initiation), and compared to the genetic variability in 10 patients on stable ARV therapy. After RT-PCR of plasma-derived HCV RNA, a mean of 20 clones per patient time-point were sequenced and analyzed for changes in the HCV quasispecies population. No significant differences in sequence diversity or complexity at the nucleic acid or amino acid levels were seen at baseline between groups or between the two time points in either group. HCV protease diversity in the pre- and post-ARV treatment samples was not significantly different than samples from patients on stable ARV therapy. There was no significant development of amino acid substitutions known to confer HCV PI resistance in either group. Initiation of ARV for HIV infection does not significantly alter the genetic diversity or complexity of the HCV NS3 gene or result in increased number of HCV PI-associated amino acid changes. These results suggest ARV treatment for HIV would not affect the efficacy of HCV PI treatment.