BACKGROUND: Most studies of stroke in people living with HIV (PLWH) do not use verified stroke diagnoses, are small, and/or do not differentiate stroke types and subtypes. SETTING: CNICS, a U.S. multisite clinical cohort of PLWH in care. METHODS: We implemented a centralized adjudication stroke protocol to identify stroke type, subtype, and precipitating conditions identified as direct causes including infection and illicit drug use in a large diverse HIV cohort. RESULTS: Among 26,514 PLWH, there were 401 strokes, 75% of which were ischemic. Precipitating factors such as sepsis or same-day cocaine use were identified in 40% of ischemic strokes. Those with precipitating factors were younger, had more severe HIV disease, and fewer traditional stroke risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension. Ischemic stroke subtypes included cardioembolic (20%), large vessel atherosclerosis (13%), and small vessel (24%) ischemic strokes. Individuals with small vessel strokes were older, were more likely to have a higher current CD4 cell count than those with cardioembolic strokes and had the highest mean blood pressure of the ischemic stroke subtypes. CONCLUSION: Ischemic stroke, particularly small vessel and cardioembolic subtypes, were the most common strokes among PLWH. Traditional and HIV-related risk factors differed by stroke type/subtype. Precipitating factors including infections and drug use were common. These results suggest that there may be different biological phenomena occurring among PLWH and that understanding HIV-related and traditional risk factors and in particular precipitating factors for each type/subtype may be key to understanding, and therefore preventing, strokes among PLWH.