Because in situ/filter hybridisation is not sensitive enough and because classical polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocols are generally not sufficiently reproducible and specific, there is little accurate information on the prevalence of human papillomaviruses (HPV) 16, 18, and 33 infections in women without dyskaryotic changes of the cervix. In our hands, our Fast Multiplex PCR protocol has always been the most sensitive, specific, and reproducible DNA detection assay in all the microbiological and haematological applications we attempted (Vandenvelde C, Verstraete M, Van Beers D : Journal of Virological Methods 30:215-228; Vandenvelde C, Scheen R, Corazza F, Van Beers D [1991a]: Journal of Experimental and Clinical Hematology 33:293-297; Vandenvelde C, Scheen R, Van Beers D, Fondu P [1991b]: Journal of Experimental and Clinical Hematology 30:25-29). Using this new technique, cervical scrapes from 336 Belgian women attending the cervical cancer screening clinic were examined for the presence of these three high-risk genital papillomaviruses. Positive results were confirmed using another set of HPV-specific primers. Exactly one sixth of our population was found positive for one or more of these HPVs. Types 33 and 16 were significantly more prevalent than type 18. The nonparametric statistical analysis of the data suggests that some risk factors such as particular sexual habits, that are inversely related to age, must exist.