To determine seroprevalence among suspected AIDS patients in Ghana in relation to clinical manifestations. Blood samples and medical records were collected from 290 Ghanaian patients with suspected AIDS in 1990 and 1992. Seroprevalence of HIV-1, HIV-2 and human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV-1) were investigated by the particle agglutination method, indirect immunofluorescence assay, the monoepitope enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot. The specimens were classified into five serologic categories: 78 were HIV-1-positive (26.9%), 25 were HIV-2-positive (8.6%), 17 dual-positive (5.9%), 16 indeterminate (5.5%) and 154 seronegative (53.1%). No significant difference was found between the clinical symptoms of patients with HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection. Of the patients, 14 (4.8%) were HTLV-1-seropositive, of whom 11 were also HIV-positive, indicating a significant correlation between the two groups of viral infections (P < 0.01). However, there was no evidence of an increase in severity of symptoms in cases of dual infection with HTLV-1 and HIV. HIV-1 infection is now dominant in Ghana in contrast to our previous survey in 1986 which showed the dominance of HIV-2. The change in seroprevalence suggests that an HIV-1 epidemic has been developing in recent years in this country, where HIV-2 was originally endemic. A relatively high prevalence of dual-reactive specimens implies the existence of highly cross-reactive strains of HIV or frequent coinfection with HIV-1 and HIV-2 in the region. The large number of seronegative patients with clinically diagnosed AIDS raises the question of the inadequacy of AIDS definitions based on clinical manifestations only.