The association between dietary intake and persistence of type-specific human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, during a 12-month period, among 433 women participating in the Ludwig-McGill HPV Natural History Study was evaluated by use of a nested case-control design. Dietary intake was assessed by a food-frequency questionnaire at the month-4 visit. HPV status was assessed at months 0, 4, 8, and 12 by polymerase chain reaction (MY09/11). Only women who ever tested positive for HPV were included in the present study: 248 had transient HPV infections (1 of 4 positive tests or nonconsecutively positive), and 185 had persistent HPV infections (> or =2 consecutive tests positive for the same HPV type). Risk of type-specific, persistent HPV infection was lower among women reporting intake values of beta-cryptoxanthin and lutein/zeaxanthin in the upper 2 quartiles and intake values of vitamin C in the upper quartile, compared with those reporting intake in the lowest quartile. Consumption of papaya > or =1 time/week was inversely associated with persistent HPV infection.