The life expectancy of individuals with haemophilia was close to that of the general population in the early 1980s. Since then, life expectancy has decreased, due to transfusion-transmitted virus infections. Deaths in individuals with haemophilia were investigated by analysing 2450 records from the Canadian Hemophilia Registry, for the years 1980-1995. Deaths were tabulated by age, year and cause, and compared with that of the Canadian male population by calculating standardized mortality ratios (SMRs). The median life expectancy at 1 year of age was calculated for various subpopulations and the impact of various population characteristics was assessed by survival regression modelling. There were 359 deaths and the annual number of deaths increased significantly after 1986. Risk factors were seropositivity to human immunodeficiency virus (relative risk 16.7, 95% CI 11.1-25.1), severe haemophilia (1.9, 1.3-2.7) and moderate haemophilia (1.8, 1.2-2.6). In HIV antibody negative individuals, the overall death rate was not increased (SMR 0.9, 95% CI 0.7-1.1) and only haemorrhage was significantly increased. In HIV antibody positive individuals, causes of death which were significantly increased were acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, liver failure, haemorrhage, lymphoma, liver cancer, nonspecific infections, and trauma or violence. Deaths due to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome accounted for only 66% of the excess deaths in individuals who were HIV antibody positive. Life expectancy has markedly decreased since the onset of the HIV epidemic. The impact of HIV is underestimated by considering only deaths due to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; other HIV-linked causes need also to be considered.