Nineteen cases from an epidemic of disseminated Kaposi's sarcoma in homosexual men were studied by clinical, virologic, immunologic, and genetic methods. The patients were all male homosexuals ranging in age from 29 to 52 years, with histories of multiple sexually transmitted diseases and exposure to both prescription and recreational drugs. Sites of disease included skin (16 of 19 patients), lymph nodes (13 patients), gastrointestinal tract (12 patients), spleen (three patients), and lung (one patient). Most patients had elevated levels of serum immunoglobins, positive antibody titers to hepatitis A and B virus, cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus, and impairment of cell-mediated immunologic reactions. The frequency of HLA-DR5 in these patients was significantly elevated. Two of the 19 patients died. Although the precise cause of this epidemic is unknown, it is likely that a genetic predisposition, an acquired immunoregulatory defect, and one or more infectious agents and drugs may be involved.