The association between human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical carcinomas is well known. HPV has been found in oral carcinomas and paranasal papillomas, and the question of a causal role of HPV has yet to be answered. Reports on the frequency of HPV in oral and paranasal sinus tumours should be considered in relation to the frequency of HPV in normal oral and nasal mucosa. In the present study 61 normal individual had oral smears taken and 48 had nasal smears. These were examined for HPV by DNA amplification with HPV consensus primers. HPV was not found in the oral mucosa, while a single individual harboured HPV in the nasal mucosa. It is concluded that HPV is rarely present in normal oral and nasal mucosa.