A mass survey was conducted to investigate the association between cervical carcinoma and human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in a high-risk area, Xiangyuan County, Shanxi Province. Fifty-four cases of cervical cancer in situ (CIS), including severe dysplasia (CIN III), 14 cases of invasive cervical carcinoma, 28 cases of mild cervical dysplasia (CIN I), and 13 cases of moderate cervical dysplasia (CIN II) were identified among 6710 women examined. One hundred and sixty-nine punch biopsies from abnormal cervix and genital tract were examined for the presence of HPV 6B/11, 16 and 18 DNA sequences by dot blot hybridization: The positive rates of HPV infection in cervicitis, CIN I, II, III, CIS and invasive cervical carcinoma specimens were 35.06% (27/77), 25% (2/8), 33.33% (2/6), 40% (2/5), 70.58% (24/34) and 40% (4/10), respectively. Among these groups, there was no regular distribution of HPV types except for HPV 16, the positive rate of which was increased from 25% in CIN I to 46.15% in CIS: HPV 16 was also the only type seen in the invasive cervical cancer group. Distribution analysis of HPV types in HPV-positive cervical cancer tissues uncovered an HPV 16 positive rate of 59.4%; 3.7 and 2.4 times higher than those of HPV 6B/11 and HPV 18, respectively. These data confirm the close association between cervical cancer and HPV 16 infection.