Periodontal attachment loss is mediated by overproduction of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin (IL)-1, and appears to have a genetic component. The 8.1 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) ancestral haplotype (HLA-A1,B8,TNFA-308(2),DR3) is associated with elevated TNF production and predisposes carriers to several autoimmune/immuno-pathological disorders, including rapid progression of HIV disease, but not early onset periodontal disease in healthy individuals. Rather a high proportion of subjects with severe periodontal disease carry allele 2 at IL-1A-889 and IL-1B+3953. We predicted that genetic associations may be different or clearer in HIV patients, as they often show elevated production of TNF and IL-1 and periodontal attachment loss. Hence periodontal parameters and IL-1 polymorphisms were assessed in HIV-positive subjects expressing HLA-B8 with or without other markers of the 8.1 haplotype. Of 16 HLA-B8 subjects, 13 demonstrated elevated probing pocket depth and clinical attachment loss. The difference was statistically significant and did not correlate with smoking, age, CD4 T-cell counts, HN viral load or levels of dental plaque. As TNFA-308 (allele 2) was present in four non-B8 subjects who had minimal attachment loss, it may not mediate the effect of the 8.1 haplotype. Moreover, polymorphisms at IL-1A-889 and IL-1B+3953 did not significantly affect periodontal parameters. Thus a central MHC gene characteristic of the 8.1 haplotype was the dearest determinant of periodontal attachment loss in HIV-infected individuals.xm.