Hodgkin's disease (HD) was diagnosed in 24 patients who were either seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (21) or members of a high-risk group (three), but had not developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Clinical presentation of the disease was characterized by constitutional symptoms in all, especially fever (23/24) and disseminated disease (22/24) at diagnosis. Mediastinal adenopathy was rare. Bone marrow involvement was particularly frequent (12/24), and a positive bone marrow biopsy preceded lymph node biopsy in 5 of the 12. Histopathologic features of these tumors included an increased number of nonlymphoid stromal cells, i.e., histiocytic and/or fibroblastoid. In some tumors these fibrohistiocytoid stromal cells were arranged in bundles, but distinct nodule with birefringent collagen band formation was not observed. Twenty-two patients were treated, most with combination chemotherapy; one was untreated; one, unknown. Sixteen, including the one untreated, died with disease at 3 to 25 months; one died of an unrelated cause; four were alive at 3 to 24 months; three were lost to follow-up. Frequent bone marrow involvement at presentation suggests the usefulness of the bone marrow biopsy for diagnosis in subjects at risk, especially when they present with spiking fever of unknown origin. Contrary to most previous series, virtually all of our cases were of mixed cellularity type, characterized by increased fibrohistiocytoid stromal cells in place of depleting lymphocytes. The classic nodular sclerosing feature with birefringent collagen band formation was not observed. In conclusion, HIV-associated HD was characterized by advanced stage with fever at presentation, preponderance of mixed cellularity histologic type with increased fibrohistiocytoid stromal cells, and poor outcome. Hodgkin's disease in AIDS patients presents an intriguing biological model to study the role of stromal histiocytes in immunodeficient patients.