Helicobacter pylori (previously Campylobacter pylori) is now accepted as the major cause of type B gastritis and thus what is known about the epidemiology of type B gastritis can reasonably be transferred to H. pylori. We used a specific ELISA for anti-H. pylori IgG to study the prevalence of H. pylori infection in a population of lower socioeconomic class from Hyderabad, India. The results from India were compared to studies from other parts of the world. Two hundred thirty-eight individuals ages 3 to 70 participated. The frequency of H. pylori infection increased with age (P less than 0.01) and was greater than 80% by age 20. H. pylori infection was present in 79% of the population studied; there was no gender-related difference in prevalence of H. pylori infection. IgG antibody against hepatitis A (HAV) was rapidly acquired in Hyderabad; in a subset of 58 children between the ages of 3 and 21 tested, the frequency of anti-HAV was 98.2%. The prevalence of H. pylori infection increases with age in both developed and developing countries. The high age-specific prevalence of H. pylori infection in developing countries is probably a reflection of the lower socioeconomic level of those areas.