We determined prospectively the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in relation to baseline high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) in 19 049 participants of the Longitudinal Investigation of Thromboembolism Etiology (LITE), which was composed of 14 490 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and 4559 participants of the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). In addition, we determined the risk of VTE in relation to baseline subtractions of HDL (HDL 2 and HDL 3) and apolipoprotein A-l (apoA-l) in 14 488 participants of the ARIC study. Age-adjusted incidence rates of VTE by HDL-c quartile ranged from 1.64 to 1.91 per 1000 person-years in men and 1.40 to 1.94 per 1000 person-years in women; however, there was no apparent trend of VTE incidence across HDL-c quartiles for either sex. The multivariate adjusted hazard ratios of VTE by HDL-c quartiles (with quartile 4 as the reference) were nonsignificant for both sexes and ranged between 0.91 and 0.99 for men and 0.78 and 1.22 for women. Results did not differ in separate evaluations of idiopathic and secondary VTE. In the ARIC study, there was no trend of VTE hazard ratios across quartiles of HDL 2, HDL 3, or apoA-l. Low HDL-c does not appear to be an important VTE riskfactor.