Assessment of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection usually requires a speculum examination to collect genital specimens. A technique using tampons as a patient-administered method for the collection of specimens was studied by dot blot hybridization (HPV types 6, 11,16,18, 31, and 33) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Tampons and cervical scrapes were collected from 48 consecutive women attending a dysplasia clinic. Tampons provided a significantly larger pellet volume (P <.002) and more DNA (P <.01) than scrapes. There was a close correlation when samples were analyzed for the presence of HPV DNA. Using dot blot hybridization, 8 cervical scrapes (17%) and 9 tampons (19%) were positive for HPV DNA (90% correlation). By PCR, 35 cervical scrapes (73%) and 33 tampons (69%) were positive for HPV DNA (88% correlation). Thus, tampon specimens are an easy method for assessment of genital HPV infection.