Epidemiologic studies show an association between infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human papillomavirus (HPV) associated anogenital disease. To investigate possible molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 modulation of HPV expression, we studied the effect of an HIV-1 regulatory protein, tat1, on gene expression directed by the upstream regulatory region (URR) of HPV type 16 (HPV 16). HPV 16 URR-directed chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) expression driven by the native HPV 16 promoter (P97) was increased in the presence of tat1 alone. Tat1 also reversed E2-mediated repression of P97-directed CAT expression. E2 mediated CAT expression with URR constructs containing the SV40 promoter was enhanced when tat1 and E2 were cotransfected. Using a cervical carcinoma cell line (SiHa), E2 enhancement of URR-directed gene expression was elevated in the presence of extracellular tat1 or during cocultivation with HIV-1-infected cells. These results show HIV can modulate HPV gene expression in cell culture and that the increased rate of HPV-associated cervical disease in asymptomatic HIV-seropositive women may result from HPV-HIV molecular interactions.