The association between dyslipidemia and diabetes mellitus is well established. Although various lipoprotein abnormalities have been described in patients with diabetes mellitus elsewhere, there is limited information from African patients. We undertook a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of dyslipidemia in Ethiopian patients with types 1 and 2 diabetes. A total of 193 subjects were included in the study (54 patients had type 1 diabetes mellitus, 92 patients had type 2 diabetes mellitus, and 47 were nondiabetic controls). Of these, 93 (48.6%) were men and 103 (51.4%) were women. The mean age+/-SEM for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and controls were 29.8+/-1.4, 51.2+/-1.1, and 29.0+/-1.7 years, respectively. Hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, defined as cholesterol level of greater than 5.2 mmol/L and triglyceride level of greater than 1.8 mmol/L, were found in 47.3% and 41.8% of patients with diabetes mellitus compared with 27% and 17% in controls (P<.05 for both). The mean total cholesterol level+/-SEM was significantly higher in patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus than controls (5.76+/-0.27 mmol/L in type 1 diabetes mellitus, 5.25+/-0.2 mmol/L in type 2 diabetes mellitus, and 4.67+/-0.28 mmol/L in healthy controls, P<.02). Triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein levels were also significantly higher in patients with diabetes than in controls, whereas high-density lipoprotein levels were significantly lower in patients with diabetes. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that in Ethiopians with diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia occurs more frequently than in controls. Thus, we recommend periodic screening for dyslipidemia in all Ethiopian patients with diabetes. Other studies are needed to assess the potential negative effect of dyslipidemia and obesity on morbidity and mortality in Ethiopians with diabetes.