Phylogenetic reconstructions of transmission events from individuals with acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are conducted to illustrate this group's heightened infectivity. Varied definitions of acute infection and assumptions about observed phylogenetic clusters may produce misleading results. We conducted a phylogenetic analysis of HIV pol sequences from 165 European patients with estimated infection dates and calculated the difference between dates within clusters. Nine phylogenetic clusters were observed. Comparison of dates within clusters revealed that only 2 could have been generated during acute infection. Previous analyses may have incorrectly assigned transmission events to the acutely HIV infected when they were more likely to have occurred during chronic infection.