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In a study of 23 subjects infected with HIV, a modified particle agglutination assay was used to detect anti-HIV-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM). The presence of anti-HIV IgM was demonstrated in every subject, becoming detectable 1–2 weeks after the onset of acute symptoms, and showing a variable duration of 1–5 weeks. Anti-HIV immunoglobulin G (IgG) developed 1–2 weeks after anti-HIV IgM. Particle agglutination detected the presence of specific antibody up to 7–10 days earlier than the Abbott recombinant or Genetic Systems enzyme immunoassays. In this study, all subjects with acute infection became clearly positive by Western blot within 3 months of the onset of acute symptoms.