Four hundred forty-five bronchoalveolar lavage specimens from patients with the human immunodeficiency virus were preserved in Saccomano's fixative and stained for Pneumocystis carinii cysts by a modified method with Fungi-Fluor Solution A (Polysciences, Warrington, Pa) and the Genetic Systems Pneumocystis carinii Immunofluorescence Antibody (Genetic Systems Corp, Seattle, Wash). The majority of patients had been treated for suspected P carinii pneumonia for a few days prior to collection of bronchoalveolar lavage specimens. P carinii cysts were detected in 194 (43.6%) specimens. Both stains identified P carinii in 166 (37.3%) specimens and were negative in 251 (56.4%), yielding a concordance rate of 93.7%. P carinii cysts were detected in 25 (5.6%) specimens by the Genetic Systems stain only, and in 3 (0.7%) specimens by the Fungi-Fluor stain only. The sensitivity for detecting cysts of P carinii was significantly greater with the Genetic Systems stain (P < .01).