The human CCR5 chemokine receptor functions as a coreceptor with CD4 for infection by macrophage-tropic isolates of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). A mutated CCR5 allele which encodes a protein that does not function as a coreceptor for HIV-1 has been identified. Thus, expression of the wild-type and/or mutation allele is relevant to determining the infectibility of patient peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and affects disease progression in vivo. We developed a qualitative CCR5 genotyping assay using NASBA, an isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology. The method involves three enzymes and two oligonucleotides and targets the CCR5 mRNA, which is expressed in PBMC at a copy number higher than 2, the number of copies of DNA present encoding the gene. The single oligonucleotide set amplifies both alleles, and genotyping is achieved by separate hybridizations of wild-type- and mutation-specific probes directly to the single-stranded RNA amplification product. Assay sensitivity and specificity were demonstrated with RNAs produced in vitro from plasmid clones bearing the DNA encoding each allele. No detectable cross-reactivity between wild-type and mutation probes was found, and 50 copies of each allele were readily detectable. Analysis of patient samples found that 20% were heterozygous and 1% were homozygous for the CCR5 mutation. Thus, NASBA is a sensitive and specific means of rapidly determining CCR5 genotype and provides several technical advantages over alternative assay systems.