The prevalence of both gender inequality and HIV prevalence vary considerably both within all developing countries and within those in sub-Saharan Africa. We test the hypothesis that the extent of gender inequality is associated with national peak HIV prevalence. Linear regression was used to test the association between national peak HIV prevalence and three markers of gender equality - the gender-related development index (GDI), the gender empowerment measure (GEM), and the gender inequality index (GII). No evidence was found of a positive relationship between gender inequality and HIV prevalence, either in the analyses of all developing countries or those limited to Africa. In the bivariate analyses limited to Africa, there was a positive association between the two measures of gender "equality" and peak HIV prevalence (GDI: coefficient 28, 95% confidence interval (CI) 9.1-46.8; GEM: coefficient 54.8, 95% CI 20.5-89.1). There was also a negative association between the marker of gender "inequality" and peak HIV prevalence (GII: coefficient -66.9, 95% CI -112.8 to -21.0). These associations all disappeared on multivariate analyses. We could not find any evidence to support the hypothesis that variations in the extent of gender inequality explain variations in HIV prevalence in developing countries.