The frequency of HLA-DQ antigens in AIDS patients with toxoplasmic encephalitis (TE) were examined. HLA-DQ3 was significantly more frequent in white North American AIDS patients with TE (85.0%) than in the general white population (51.8%; P = .007, corrected P = .028) or randomly selected control AIDS patients who had not developed TE (40.0%; P = .016). In contrast, the frequency of HLA-DQ1 was lower in TE patients than in healthy controls (40.0% vs. 66.5%, P = .027), but this difference did not reach statistical significance when corrected for the number of variables tested (corrected P = .108 for the general white population). HLA-DQ3 thus appears to be a genetic marker of susceptibility to development of TE in AIDS patients, and DQ1 may be a resistance marker. These HLA associations with disease indicate that development of TE in AIDS patients is affected by a gene or genes in the HLA complex and that HLA-DQ typing may help in decisions regarding TE prophylaxis.