A nested PCR, amplifying a portion of the gene encoding the mitochondrial large subunit ribosomal RNA (mt LSU rRNA) of Pneumocystis carinii sp. f. hominis was applied to oropharyngeal samples obtained on repeated occasions from 12 HIV-infected patients with P. carinii pneumonia (PCP) to monitor response to anti-P carinii treatment. Genotyping of P. carinii sp. f. hominis was also performed on paired samples of oropharyngeal and broncho-alveolar lavage samples before the start of treatment, and on oropharyngeal samples during the course of treatment, by analysis of sequence variation at the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of the nuclear rRNA operon. When a simple dilutional method was used, a reduction in the amount of amplification product was observed in samples from all patients during the course of treatment. In eight of the 12 patients, a single ITS sequence type was found in the oropharyngeal samples and also in the paired broncho-alveolar lavage sample. A mixed infection was identified in the samples from three patients. In eight patients, the ITS sequence types identified in the oropharyngeal sample were the same as in the broncho-alveolar lavage sample. Nested PCR amplifying the mt LSU rRNA on oropharyngeal samples provides a non-invasive method of monitoring response to treatment of PCP. ITS sequence typing of P. carinii sp. f. hominis from oropharyngeal samples appears to be a reliable alternative to broncho-alveolar lavage samples and provides a non-invasive tool for further epidemiological studies.