Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are involved in intercellular communication in health and disease and affect processes including immune and antiviral responses. Ultracentrifuged serum is depleted of EVs and, when used in culture media, reduces growth and viability of some cell types. In this study, we examined the effects of serum EV depletion processes on HIV-1 replication in primary cells and cell lines, including two HIV-1 latency models. Increased HIV-1 production was observed in certain EV-depleted conditions, along with cell morphology changes and decreased cell viability. Add-back of ultracentrifuge pellets rescued baseline HIV-1 production. Primary cells appeared to be less sensitive to EV depletion. ACH-2 and U1 latency models produced more HIV-1 under EV-depleted conditions, while virus produced under processed serum conditions was more infectious. Finally, changes in cellular metabolism and gene expression were associated with EV-depleted culture. In conclusion, the EV environment of HIV-1 infected cells has a substantial effect on virus production and infectivity. EV-dependence of cell cultures should be examined carefully along with other experimental variables. However, EVs may not be the only particles depleted by ultracentrifugation or other processes. Effects of EVs may be accompanied by or confused with those of closely associated or physically similar particles.