To estimate the replication of the human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) in patients with HTLV-I-associated myelopathy (HAM), or tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP), HTLV-I DNA integrated into lymphocyte genomes was analyzed by Southern blot hybridization. HTLV-I DNA was detected in 125 (82%) of 153 patients and most showed random integration. This incidence was much higher than the 29% found in asymptomatic carriers. Therefore, HAM/TSP development is associated with a high level of HTLV-I replication. In addition, lymphocytes from 3 patients with HAM/TSP showed monoclonal integration of HTLV-I DNA, indicating adult T-cell leukemia.