From 1987 to 1995, a retrospective case study was conducted at the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid, Spain, a public teaching hospital with 1,100 beds, to determine the clinicoepidemiologic characteristics, survival, and prognostic factors of patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The prevalence of VL in HIV+ patients compared with HIV- patients was studied. Epidemiologic, clinical, and parasitologic characteristics, as well as the effects of treatment, prognosis, and survival in 54 HIV+ patients (90 episodes) with VL were defined. Comparative survival studies among patients with and without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining criteria and multivariate analysis of survival risk factors were performed. The prevalence of VL in patients with AIDS was much higher than in immunocompetent individuals. In spite of a good initial response to treatment for VL, 60.6% of the patients had relapsed by the end of one year. Mortality from the first episode was 18.5%, and 24% died in the first month after diagnosis of any VL episode. The mean survival of the 29 patients who died was 10.27 months. Survival in patients with and without AIDS at the time of the first episode of VL was compared at 30 months: 53.7% versus 20.5% (P = 0.00149). We found no significant difference (P = 0.24) in the survival of HIV+ patients who had died of VL without AIDS at the time of the first episode of VL compared with those of a control group of 413 dead patients with AIDS without VL. A diagnosis of AIDS at the time of the first episode of VL and thrombocytopenia were the only risk factors found related to survival. We conclude that in AIDS patients, VL is a recurrent disease that is highly prevalent and whose clinical course is modified by HIV.