The performance in pediatric human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of a signal-amplification boosted ELISA for HIV-1 p24 antigen in plasma after heat-mediated immune complex dissociation was prospectively compared with polymerase chain reaction-based procedures. Diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the p24 antigen test were 100% and 99.2%, respectively. Quantification revealed RNA in 85.7% and p24 antigen in 87.4% of 230 samples from 25 infected children. Concentrations of these indices in individual samples correlated (P<.0001). Introduction or modification of antiretroviral treatment showed concordant responses of RNA and p24 antigen in 39 (90.7%) of 43 instances. The treatment-induced changes in concentrations of RNA were higher than those of p24 antigen in 11 instances. In 1 instance, however, the concentration change of p24 antigen was greater than that of RNA (P=. 002). Variation of RNA concentrations was more marked than that of p24 antigen (P=.002). The p24 antigen test was equivalent to PCR for diagnosing and monitoring pediatric HIV-1 infection.