Patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) often develop multiple papillomatous lesions of the oral cavity. In the present study, a total of 67 biopsies from benign oral lesions were analyzed for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA using Southern-blot hybridization in combination with a polymerase chain reaction designed to detect all known HPV types, as well as unidentified types. These samples, collected at random from a high-risk population, were subsequently divided into 57 biopsies originating from patients with confirmed HIV infection and 10 biopsies from patients with unknown HIV status. Each sample was amplified with 7 different combinations of degenerate primers. All amplified products were sequenced. HPV DNA sequences were detected in 67% (45/67) of the samples. HPV 7 (19%) and HPV 32 (28%) were the predominant HPV types. HPV 32 was present in 2/4 fibromas tested. Two new HPV types, HPV 72 and HPV 73, were identified in oral warts with atypia. The complete genomes of these viruses were cloned and sequenced. Other HPV types detected were HPV 2a, HPV 6b, HPV 13, HPV 16, HPV 18, HPV 55, HPV 59 and HPV 69.