Seventeen oral epidermoid carcinomas, three oral papillomas, and 17 normal gingival tissues were tested for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18 sequences by Southern blot hybridization. Episomal HPV-16 sequences in various amounts were detected in 76.4% of the oral carcinomas and in all three cases of papilloma. However, only one of the 17 normal tissues was HPV positive with an unknown type. None of the samples contained HPV-6, -11, or -18 sequences. Examination of the habits of the patients showed that 59% of the patients were betel quid chewers and 82% were smokers. Thus, the concurrent incidence of HPV infection and betel quid chewing and/or smoking habits in oral carcinoma patients observed in Taiwan is consistent with the view that both viral and chemical factors may be involved in the process of carcinogenesis.