The prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in cervical cell scrapes from a cohort of 276 young women was determined by a general two-step polymerase chain reaction. HPV infection fluctuated among young women during a 2-year interval. The total prevalence of HPV infection decreased from 21% to 8.3%. The most prevalent HPV types at enrollment were HPV-16 (3.3%) and HPV-6 (2.9%). At follow-up, the most common type was HPV-16 (2.9%), while no HPV-6 was detected. In 2 women only, the same HPV type persisted. Regression of HPV infection was found in 80% of the women. A new HPV type-specific infection was detected in 7.2% of the women and was independently associated with a new sex partner or an abnormal smear since enrollment.