Despite the seemingly important role of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease pathogenesis, their measurement has relied on a variety of different techniques. We utilized three separate methodologies for the detection of CTLs in a cohort of HIV-infected individuals who were also human leukocyte antigen A2 (HLA-A2) positive. Among the different CTL assays, a correlation was seen only when the Gag epitope-specific HLA A*0201-restricted tetramer assay was compared with the ELISPOT assay performed after stimulation with the Gag epitope; however, this correlation was of borderline statistical significance. On average, the tetramer reagent detected a 10-fold-higher number of cells than were seen to produce gamma interferon by the ELISPOT assay. The implications of this CTL assay comparison and the possibility of phenotypic differences in HIV-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes are discussed.