The performance to detect drug resistance mutations in the reverse transcriptase gene of HIV-1 was compared for direct solid phase sequencing, selective polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) and the new line probe assay (LIPA) HIV-1 RT. The three tests were undertaken on 50 plasma samples from 25 treatment-experienced patients under combination therapy with dideoxynucleoside analogues. LiPA HIV-1 RT gave interpretable results in 80 to 96% of the samples depending on the codon of interest. In 2% of the samples a failure to amplify resulted in uninterpretable results for sequencing. ARMS gave no result in seven samples (14%). Overall, there was a 73 to 100% concordance between the three methods. In this study, LiPA HIV-1 RT proved to be an accurate and reliable alternative to DNA sequencing for the detection of drug resistance mutations in patient samples.