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The occurrence of human papillomavirus (HPV) among males was analysed with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. Penile brush samples were taken once from 147 males attending for a control or for HPV non-related reasons, and consecutive samples were collected from 88 males re-attending the clinic. Of the males attending once, 13% (19/147) were HPV DNA positive and among the re-attenders 14% (12/88) were initially positive as compared with 33% (29/88) who were positive at least at one visit. Totally, 22 different HPV types were detected of which HPV 16 was most common, found in 6.4% (15/235), followed by HPV 42 found in 3.8% (9/235). Among 14 HPV-positive males with at least one follow-up, 7 had persistent infections with at least one HPV type, and transient HPV types were observed in 9; but in 5 of them new types appeared at follow-up. Among sexually-active males subclinical/latent HPV infection is common and repeated sampling increases its prevalence.