We examined the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and associated risk factors for infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35, in 661 sexually active adolescent females attending family planning clinics. Fifteen percent were positive for HPV DNA by RNA-DNA dot-blot hybridization. More than 60% of the HPV-positive subjects harbored at least one of the following cancer-related HPV types: 16, 18, 31, 33, or 35. Those with HPV had a mean range of four to 10 lifetime sexual partners compared with a mean range of one to three in those without HPV (p less than 0.001). After the analysis was adjusted for number of lifetime sexual partners, no other risk factor was associated with HPV infection. We conclude that oncogenic-related HPV types are common sexually transmitted organisms found in our population. The strong relationship with number of sexual partners suggests that acquisition of HPV infection is predominantly influenced by sexual behavior. However, in our population, confounders such as oral contraceptive use, past history of Chlamydia trachomatis infection, or substance abuse were not found to be significant independent risk factors.