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To describe the clinical epidemiology of HIV-associated end-stage renal failure (HIV/ESRF) from 1998 to 2007 in the United Kingdom.Observational cohort study.Seven leading HIV centres and affiliated renal clinics in the United Kingdom.A total of 21 951 patients in whom renal function was measured.Development of end-stage renal failure (ESRF) as defined by initiation of permanent renal replacement therapy (pRRT).Sixty-eight (0.31%) patients had HIV/ESRF, 44 (64.7%) of whom were black. The prevalence of ESRF in black patients increased over time from 0.26% in 1998–1999 to 0.92% in 2006–2007 (P for trend = 0.001). Overall 5-year survival from starting pRRT was 70.3%, and significantly better for black patients compared to those of other ethnicities (85.2 vs. 43.4%, P = 0.001). In multivariable analysis, black ethnicity was associated with a higher risk of ESRF [HR 6.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.56, 13.48], whereas a higher current CD4 cell count was associated with reduced risk (HR: 0.83, 95% CI 0.76, 0.95) per 50 cells higher). No association was seen between current viral load or current highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) status and ESRF. On the basis of these observations, we estimate that 231 HIV-infected patients required pRRT in the United Kingdom in 2007, and an HIV prevalence of 0.51% among the United Kingdom pRRT recipients in that year.The prevalence of HIV/ESRF increased during the HAART era to reach nearly 1% in black patients, in whom favourable survival rates were observed. Earlier HIV diagnosis will be an important strategy to stem the rising trend of HIV/ESRF.