The clinical and pathological features of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related lymphomas, including their relationship with other viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human herpes virus-8 (HHV8), have been the subject of several studies from North America and Europe. No consistent data have been reported in Africa, where AIDS runs an epidemiological and clinical course different from that observed in Western countries. We retrospectively evaluated the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), HHV8, and EBV in 146 cases of malignant lymphomas collected in Kenya (Equatorial Africa), with the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and in situ hybridization (ISH). The PCR technique confirmed HIV infection in 16 HIV-seropositive subjects (11%) and showed the presence of HIV sequences in five additional cases (3%) in which the occurrence of lymphoma was the only clinical manifestation. Our findings suggest that AIDS-related lymphomas are not pathogenetically homogenous, and different mechanisms may contribute to lymphomagenesis in these severely immunocompromised patients. In our series, no association of Hodgkin's disease (HD) with HIV infection could be shown. Among non-HIV-related lymphomas, EBV was present in 94% of Burkitt lymphoma (BL) occurring in patients younger than 15 years of age, in 87% of HD independently of age, sex, and histological types, in 60% of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), and to a lesser extent (13%) in large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) cases. Only one tumor, a case of HD, showed HHV8 by PCR.