Diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is important for patient management and prevention of new infections. The number of test kits available for the detection of HIV antibodies is unprecedented. In order to identify appropriate test kits, we evaluated a variety of commercial kits manufactured abroad as well as in India. The plasma and serum specimens (n=264) were collected from individuals attending the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centre at the YRG Centre for AIDS and Education. The specimens were used to evaluate six commercially available HIV test kits: Enzaids HIV 1+2, HIV-CheX, Murex HIV-1.2.0, Genscreen HIV 1/2 version 2, Vironostika HIV Uni-Form II Ag/Ab, and CombAids RS Advantage. High sensitivities and specificities (>or=99%) were observed for the Enzaids, Murex, Vironostika, and CombAids assays. HIV-CheX showed the highest number of false-positive and false-negative results. The Genscreen test also gave many false positives. The study indicated that the Enzaids, Murex, and Vironostika enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits and the CombAids RS Advantage rapid assay could be used to achieve acceptable results for the detection of HIV antibodies. A combination of two tests is recommended to optimize the efficiency of HIV antibody testing algorithms, especially when evaluation with an HIV Western blot confirmatory test is not possible.