In this study, we investigated the association of HLA-DRB1 and DQB1 with Thai patients with SLE. A highly significant increase in the frequency of DRB1*1502 and DQB1*0501 was found in SLE patients compared with normal controls. DRB1*1501 and DRB1*1602 were also slightly increased. In contrast, DRB1*1202 and DQB1*0301 were decreased, and DRB1*0406 and DRB1*1401 were not found in the patients' group. The haplotype analysis revealed that DRB1*1502 - DQB1*0501 was most strongly associated with SLE, and also suggested a primary role for DRB1 rather than DQB1. Taken together with the previous report which demonstrated the association of the same haplotype in Taiwan, our present observations strongly suggested that DRB1*1502 - DQB1*0501 is the major HLA haplotype that confers susceptibility to SLE in the South-east Asian populations.