[en] OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in 80 tumor-free tonsils from healthy children and adults using a sensitive E6/E7 type-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Ear, nose, and throat department, university hospital. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Paraffin-embedded tissues from tumor-free tonsils (TFTs) were evaluated for HPV DNA using GP5+/6+ consensus PCR and subsequent genotyping using E6/E7 type-specific PCR for HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 66, and 68. The immunohistochemical expression of p16 and p53 was also assessed. RESULTS: In 80 TFTs, the authors identified 10 (12.5%) that tested positive for the following high-risk HPV types: HPV 16 (8 cases), 18 (1 case), and 31 (1 case). Twelve patients (15%) tested positive for HPV infection using the GP5+/GP6+ consensus primers but were negative using quantitative PCR. These patients were considered infected with low-risk HPV types. Fifty-eight TFTs (72.5%) tested negative for both GP5+/GP6+ and type-specific HPV PCR analysis (HPV negative). Among patients infected with HPV, the authors observed a slight increase in frequency with age. CONCLUSION: In TFTs, oncogenic and nononcogenic HPVs were present at a relatively high frequency in children and adults. The presence of high-risk HPV DNA in young children supports the horizontal transmission hypothesis and argues in favor of HPV vaccination at birth.