Background: The impact of immune status and surgical outcome in patients with HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) remains unknown. Methods: Clinical variables of HIV/AIDS patients undergoing abdominal surgery were examined for their impact on outcome. Results: Major abdominal procedures were performed in 77 patients with a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS (55 males, mean age 41.1 years, mean CD4 count 210 mg/dL). A majority of operations (53%) were performed on an urgent basis. Patients undergoing urgent procedures had lower CD4 counts (129 +/- 121 vs 303 +/- 324, P = .002). The mean CD4 count was lower for patients with complications (146 +/- 156 vs 288 +/- 319, P = .013) and for those who died (112 +/- 113 vs 251 +/- 283, P = .026). On multivariate analysis, CD4 count was independently associated with an increased risk for complication, and urgent operation was associated with an increased risk for mortality. Conclusion: Patients with HIV/AIDS who had lower CD4 counts were more likely to require an urgent operation and experience a complication with increased mortality.