Abstract B-cell lymphoma in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus is usually a disseminated process that occasionally involves the lungs. Surgical diagnosis is often necessary to distinguish this from other neoplasms or opportunistic infections of the lung. We report a case of pulmonary B-cell lymphoma in a patient infected with human immunodeficiency virus who presented with a left empyema thoracis and an associated left lower lobe abscess secondary to bronchial obstruction. Resection was performed and the patient subsequently recovered from the acute process and survived an additional 6 months. This report demonstrates that surgical intervention may be necessary for both the diagnosis of pulmonary lymphoma and the definitive management of infectious complications that may arise as a result of pulmonary neoplastic disease in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.