In order to determine the prevalence of HIV infection in french patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on maintenance dialysis therapy, questionnaire forms were mailed out in february 1997 to the heads of the 260 dialysis facilities. We documented number of patients on maintenance dialysis therapy (hemo and peritoneal dialysis) and for HIV infected dialysis patients: age, gender, cause and duration of ESRD, known duration of HIV infection, risk factors for HIV infection, HBV and/or HCV infection, presence of clinical acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), total CD4 count and treatment with antiretroviral agents. Questionnaire forms were returned from 98% of the dialysis facilities. As of february 1997 some 22,707 patients with ESRD were treated by renal replacement therapy, 19,947 by hemodialysis (HD) and 2760 by peritoneal dialysis (PD). 82 patients with ESRD and HIV infection were reported corresponding to 0.36% prevalence rate of all patients undergoing dialysis at the time specified. The 82 study subjects with ESRD and HIV infection received hemodialysis (79 patients) or peritoneal dialysis (3 patients) in 42 facilities. Forty seven patients were treated in Paris and suburbs and 9 in our own center. All 82 patients comprised 63% men and 47% women which included patients coming from Africa (37%), Caribbean and Oceania (28%), Europe (35%) of a mean age of 41.8 years. Modes of transmission were homobisexuals 15%, heterosexuals 31%, intravenous drug abusers 17%, blood transfusion 17% and unknown 20%. The mean duration of HIV infection was 96 months (range 12-168 months) and the mean duration of ESRD was 58 months (range 1-235 months). HIV associated nephropathy was established in 31%. AIDS was diagnosed in 25 patients. Seventy one percent of the patients were receiving an antiretroviral drug (tritherapy in 25% of cases). In conclusion HIV prevalence rate among French dialysis patients is low and focused in Paris and oversea. Sexual transmission is the most important HIV contamination but blood transfusion transmission remains greater than in general HIV population. Survival has improved compared with the survival rate reported in the 1980s.