Links between human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and cervical cancer were first suspected almost 30 years ago. DNA of specific HPV types has since been found in almost all cervical cancer biopsies. HPV oncogenes that are expressed in these cells are involved in their transformation and immortalization, and are required for the progression towards malignancy. Epidemiological studies have underlined that HPVs are the main aetiological factor for cervical cancer. But how has this knowledge been translated into the clinic to allow the prevention, screening and treatment of cervical cancer?