To ascertain the role of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission on multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) emergence in New York City, medical records, drug susceptibilities, and restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) of TB cases at a city hospital between two 9-month periods (1987-1988 and 1990-1991) were reviewed. The proportion of TB patients with MDRTB increased from 10% (27/267) to 17% (38/222; P = .03). Among MDRTB patients of known HIV status, the proportion with HIV increased from 16% (3/19) to 58% (22/38; P = .006). HIV-infected MDRTB patients were more likely than the seronegative ones to have initial MDRTB (88% vs. 56%; P = .03). Among 56 MDR cases with RFLP results, 12 had unique patterns; 44 belonged to one of six clusters. During 1990-1991, 27 (75%) of 36 MDRTB patients were infected with strains isolated from HIV-seronegative patients during 1987-1988. The increase in MDRTB caused by transmission from immunocompetent to immunocompromised persons underscores the urgency of TB control in populations with increasing HIV prevalence.