During 1986-88 and 1990-92, 1025 (97%) out of 1057 genital ulcer patients in Kigali, Rwanda, were tested for HIV antibodies and for infection with Treponema pallidum, Haemophilus ducreyi and herpes simplex virus. Overall, 57% of men and 80% of women had antibodies to HIV-1. The most frequent laboratory diagnoses were chancroid (27%), syphilis (19%) and genital herpes (19%) among men and syphilis (35%), genital herpes (23%) and chancroid (20%) among women. HIV-1 seroprevalence increased sharply over time among men but not among women. The clinical presentation of ulcers as well as laboratory diagnoses were similar in the HIV-1 seropositive and seronegative groups. The relative frequency of all laboratory diagnoses remained unchanged over time. HIV-1 seropositivity had no impact on ulcer healing. Advanced immunodeficiency was diagnosed among 12% of the HIV-1 seropositive patients and was significantly associated with increasing age and genital herpes.