We investigated the presence of human papilloma virus (HPV) 16/18 and herpes simplex virus-1,-2 (HSV-1,-2) infections in buccal mucosal cells of prostitutes of Calcutta, India, by in situ DNA hybridization and immunocytochemical technique. In some of them, we also examined the prevalence of viral infections in uterine cervical cells. The women were also tested for venereal disease research laboratory antigen (VDRL) positivity. Oral infections with HSV-1, -2 and HPV 16/18 were detected in 24.6%, 11.6%, and 29%, respectively. Similar cervical infections were found in 0%, 44%, and 62.9% of the cases studied. HPV coinfection was significantly higher (p < 0.01) in both the oral and cervical cells that had HSV infection. The cervical HPV infections were not markedly higher among the VDRL-positive prostitutes (p > 0.05). The HPV or HSV infection rates showed no remarkable variation between the two age groups of the prostitutes studied (p > 0.05). Cytological abnormalities were more pronounced in the cervix of women having concurrent infection with HPV and HSV-2 rather than in the presence of infection with either of the two. This preliminary investigation, the first of its kind in India, requires a larger study to understand the significance of the association of different sexually transmitted agents including HPV (apart from HIV) as risk factors for pathologic lesions.