We have developed a method to study the genetic relationship between any two HLA-associated diseases. We have considered the following hypotheses: (1) both diseases are caused by a common allele; (2) different alleles at the same locus predispose to the two diseases; (3) one disease is predisposed by two alleles, one of which can also lead to the second disease; and (4) different HLA-linked loci are involved in the etiology of each disease. For each hypothesis, we have derived the expected HLA haplotype-sharing distribution in sib pairs who are affected with two diseases. The comparison of the expectations indicate that, in many cases, the alternate hypotheses can be distinguished, if the sample size is appropriately large. The knowledge of the mode of inheritance of each disease is not usually necessary; however, it can greatly increase the power of the test. Analyses of data on pairwise combinations of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD), and insulin-dependent (type I) diabetes mellitus (IDDM) suggest that (a) IDDM is predisposed by two HLA-linked alleles, one of which also predisposes to ATD, (b) one of the IDDM alleles also confers susceptibility to RA, and (c) although the HLA-linked susceptibilities to RA and ATD appear to be primarily due to distinct alleles, the ATD allele may also have a minor role in predisposition to RA.