Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) play an essential role in the etiology of cervical cancer, but besides an established role for sexual transmission, little is known about other risk factors for HPV infection. Risk factors for nononcogenic, oncogenic, and HPV 16 cervical infections were investigated using a cumulative case-control approach nested in an ongoing cohort study of low income women from São Paulo, Brazil. HPV DNA was detected and typed by the MY09/11 PCR protocol. Risk factor information was obtained via interviews. In a case-control analysis, we compared women who harbored infections with exclusively nononcogenic types (n = 123), exclusively oncogenic types (n = 94), and any HPV 16 (n = 60) to women remaining HPV-negative (n = 512) throughout 1 year of follow-up. A strong negative association was found between age and oncogenic infections, but not with nononcogenic infections. Oral contraceptive use was strongly and exclusively associated with oncogenic and HPV 16 infections. Markers of sexual activity were associated with all types of infections, although with varying strengths. Our results suggest some important differences in the epidemiological correlates of HPV infection according to oncogenicity that may have implications for the-planning of specific preventive strategies aiming at reduction of cervical cancer risk.