Previous studies have characterized the prevalence and duration of serum IgG antibodies to human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV 16) in a well-studied cohort of college women, using viruslike particle- (VLP) based ELISAs. In this study IgA antibodies in cervical secretions and sera were examined using a newly developed capsomer-based ELISA and the patterns observed for serum IgG, serum IgA, and cervical IgA antibodies were compared. The median time to antibody detection from the first detection of HPV 16 DNA was 10.5 months for IgA in cervical secretions and 19.1 months for serum IgA. Serum IgA antibody conversion was observed less frequently and occurred later than IgA conversion in cervical secretions (P = 0.011) or serum IgG conversion (P = 0.051). The median time to antibody reversion, following seroconversion, was 12.0 months for IgA in cervical secretions and 13.6 months for serum IgA, whereas approximately 20% of women with serum IgG antibodies reverted within 36 months. Thus, the duration of IgA in cervical secretions and sera was shorter than the duration of serum IgG (P = 0.007 and 0.001).