Dried blood spots (DBS) on filter paper facilitate the collection, transport, and storage of blood samples for laboratory use. A rapid and simple DNA extraction procedure from DBS was developed and evaluated for the diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in children by an in-house nested-PCR assay on three genome regions and by the Amplicor HIV-1 DNA prototype assay version 1.5 (Roche Molecular Systems). A total of 150 samples from children born to HIV-1-infected mothers were collected in Kigali, Rwanda, in parallel as DBS and as peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) pellets. The results obtained on DBS by the two PCR assays were compared to the results of nested PCR on PBMCs. Of 150 PBMC samples, 10 were positive, 117 were negative, and 23 were indeterminate for HIV-1 infection. In DNA extracted from filter papers and amplified by using the in-house nested PCR, 9 of these 10 positive samples (90%) were found to be positive, and 1 was found to be indeterminate (only the pol region could be amplified). All of the negative samples and all of the 23 indeterminate samples tested negative for HIV-1 infection. When we used the Amplicor DNA test on DBS, all of the 10 PBMC-positive samples were found to be positive and all of the 23 indeterminate samples were found to be negative. Of the PBMC-negative samples, 115 were found to be negative and 2 were found to be indeterminate. We conclude that this simple rapid DNA extraction method on DBS in combination with both detection methods gave a reliable molecular diagnosis of HIV-1 infection in children born to HIV-infected mothers.