We report two AIDS patients who developed acute renal failure while receiving sulphadiazine for cerebral toxoplasmosis. Renal ultrasound revealed diffuse bilateral echogenic shadowing material. 'Sheaves of wheat' crystals, typical of sulphadiazine crystalluria, were present in the urine. One patient required a percutaneous nephrostomy. Hydration and urine alkalinisation resulted in rapid improvement of renal function and ultrasonographic findings. Sulphadiazine-induced crystalluria and acute renal failure is increasingly frequent. Awareness of its existence may lead to prevention and early conservative treatment.