Previous studies showed that high levels of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) DNA are associated with a faster progression to AIDS, an increased risk of death, and a higher risk of HIV RNA rebound in patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy. Our objective was to develop and assess a highly sensitive real-time multiplex PCR assay for the quantification of HIV-1 DNA (RTMP-HIV) based on molecular beacons. HIV-1 DNA quantification was carried out by RTMP in a LightCycler 2.0 apparatus. HIV-1 DNA was quantified in parallel with CCR5 as a reference gene, and reported values are numbers of HIV-1 DNA copies/10(6) peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The clinical sensitivity of the assay was assessed for 115 newly diagnosed HIV-1-infected individuals. The analytical sensitivity was estimated to be 12.5 copies of HIV-1 DNA per 10(6) PBMCs, while the clinical sensitivity was 100%, with levels ranging from 1.23 to 4.25 log(10) HIV-1 DNA copies/10(6) PBMCs. In conclusion, we developed and assessed a new RTMP-HIV assay based on molecular beacons, using a LightCycler 2.0 instrument. This multiplex assay has comparable sensitivity, reproducibility, and accuracy to single real-time PCR assays.