A study was performed to test the hypothesis that renal allograft recipients are at high risk of developing anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN). A total of 133 renal allograft recipients and 145 control patients underwent anoscopy and biopsy. A polymerase chain reaction was used to detect HPV16 DNA in biopsy samples. A histological diagnosis of anal HPV infection or AIN was made in 32 allograft recipients (HPV infection, five; AIN I, 20; AIN II, three; AIN III, three; AIN III and anal cancer, one). One subject with AIN was detected in the control group. HPV16 DNA was detected in 47 and 12.4 per cent of anal biopsies in the allograft and control groups respectively. Renal allograft recipients are at high risk of developing anal HPV infection and neoplasia (P < 0.05). Further studies are required to determine whether screening anal examination is required in organ allograft recipients.