Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is widely used for diagnosis of HCV infection and evaluation of therapy. The sensitive hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA PCR is often reserved for detection of quantities of HBV DNA that are insufficient for hybridization. Application of both PCR techniques is limited by their labor-intensity, potential for contamination, and substantial time required for analysis. To study HCV and HBV infections, occurring alone or in combination, we developed a combined one-step PCR method to detect HCV RNA and HBV DNA in a single serum specimen using oligoprimers from the HCV 5' untranslated region and the HBV preS/S region. Specificity of the HBV and HCV PCR products was confirmed on the basis of their molecular sizes in positive samples, Southern blot hybridization, and negative controls. The sensitivities of the combined PCR were assessed using samples containing a wide range of defined amounts of HBV DNA and HCV RNA and were comparable with those obtained with conventional HBV DNA or HCV RNA PCR methods. The sensitivity of the combined method was further validated by the 100% concordance between results of its HBV and HCV components and those of conventional PCR methods in patients with HBV and/or HCV infections. The combined one-step HBV/HCV PCR is a sensitive, specific, rapid, and cost-effective method, especially suited for epidemiological screening and clinical diagnosis of HBV and HCV infections occurring alone or in combination.