HIV has a high mutation rate, which contributes to its ability to evolve quickly. However, we know little about the fitness costs of individual HIV mutations in vivo, their distribution and the different factors shaping the viral fitness landscape. We calculated the mean frequency of transition mutations at 870 sites of the pol gene in 160 patients, allowing us to determine the cost of these mutations. As expected, we found high costs for non-synonymous and nonsense mutations as compared to synonymous mutations. In addition, we found that non-synonymous mutations that lead to drastic amino acid changes are twice as costly as those that do not and mutations that create new CpG dinucleotides are also twice as costly as those that do not. We also found that G→A and C→T mutations are more costly than A→G mutations. We anticipate that our new in vivo frequency-based approach will provide insights into the fitness landscape and evolvability of not only HIV, but a variety of microbes.