It is not known whether immune dysfunction is associated with increased risk of death after cancer diagnosis in persons with HIV (PWH). AIDS-defining illness (ADI) can signal significant immunosuppression. Our objective was to determine differences in cancer stage and mortality rates in PWH with and without history of ADI. PWH with anal, oropharynx, cervical, lung cancers, or Hodgkin lymphoma diagnoses from January 2000 to December 2009 in the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design were included. Among 81,865 PWH, 814 had diagnoses included in the study; 341 (39%) had a history of ADI at time of cancer diagnosis. For each cancer type, stage at diagnosis did not differ by ADI (P > 0.05). Mortality and survival estimates for cervical cancer were limited by n = 5 diagnoses. Adjusted mortality rate ratios showed a 30%-70% increase in mortality among those with ADI for all cancer diagnoses, although only lung cancer was statistically significant. Survival after lung cancer diagnosis was poorer in PWH with ADI vs. without (P = 0.0001); the probability of survival was also poorer in those with ADI at, or before other cancers although not statistically significant. PWH with a history of ADI at lung cancer diagnosis had higher mortality and poorer survival after diagnosis compared to those without. Although not statistically significant, the findings of increased mortality and decreased survival among those with ADI (vs. without) were consistent for all other cancers, suggesting the need for further investigations into the role of HIV-related immune suppression and cancer outcomes.