Tuberculosis is one of the most important infectious complications in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. In this radiological study, we detail the chest radiographic findings of Zairean and Zambian adults with a diagnosis of AIDS and tuberculosis as seen at three Central African Hospitals. Between 1992 and 1995, consecutive chest radiographs of 963 HIV-infected adults aged between 16 years and 56 years with microbiologically confirmed tuberculosis (TB) were reviewed: (1) 362 adults from Sendwe General Hospital, Lubumbashi, Zaire, (2) 175 from Mama Yemo Hospital, Kinshasa, Zaire, and (3) 426 adults from The University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Lusaka, Zambia. During the same period consecutive chest radiographs from 1000 age-matched HIV-negative adults with tuberculosis were collected for comparative purposes. Comparison of the two groups showed that the HIV-infected group of patients with tuberculosis had a significantly higher proportion of lymphadenopathy (26% vs 13%; P = 0.001), pleural effusions (16% vs 6.8%; P = 0.001), miliary shadowing (9.8% vs 5%; P = 0.001), an interstitial pattern (12% vs 7%; P = 0.01) and consolidation (10% vs 3%; P = 0.001). There was significantly less cavitation (33% vs 78%; P = 0.001) and atelectasis (12% vs 24%; P = 0.001) seen in the HIV-positive group compared to the HIV-negative group of patients. These patterns of radiographic changes were consistently seen across all three hospital sites. The radiographic appearances in HIV-infected individuals with TB is discussed.