Multiple determinants are involved in the progression of human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected cervical lesion to invasive cancer. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) polymorphism seems to play a role. This study examined the association between HLA-DRB1 polymorphism, high-risk HPV infection, and the development of cervical neoplasia in southern Chinese. Three hundred and seventy women with cervical neoplasia (43 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade II, 154 grade III, and 173 invasive cancers) and 323 controls were recruited for HLA-DRB1 typing by a sequence-based approach. Cervical specimens were collected for HPV detection by a consensus primer-based polymerase chain reaction, and with the type of HPV identified by hybridization with type-specific oligonucleotide probes. A protective effect of HLA-DRB1*12 for cervical neoplasia was observed, and with stronger associations when subgroup analyses were carried out for patients infected with HPV16 and HPV58. The protective effect of HLA-DRB1*13 that had been reported from other populations was not observed. The data obtained in this study showed that HLA-DRB1*03 conferred a higher risk for HPV18-infected, but not for HPV16-, HPV52-, or HPV58-infected cervical lesions. Although, HPV52 was reported as uncommon worldwide, it was found to be the second most prevalent type in the southern Chinese population. However, no additional risk association was observed when subgroup analyses were performed for HPV52-infected patients. The current study shows that, among southern Chinese, the outcome of HPV-infected cervical lesions is associated with HLA-DRB1 polymorphism. These associations often vary with the type of HPV infection. J. Med. Virol. 79:970-976, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.