Human papillomavirus type 73 (HPV 73) has been detected in some invasive cervical cancers and has been cloned from a squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus, but the epidemiology of this infection and its associated risk of cancer is unknown. We investigated the seroepidemiology of this virus using virus-like particles. The IgG response to HPV 73 appeared to be HPV type-specific, since a comparison of HPV 73 antibody levels before and after infection with HPV 6, 11, 16, 18 or 33 found no evidence of cross-induction of HPV 73 antibodies and since there was little correlation between the antibody levels to HPV 73 and the other 5 investigated HPV types. In both a cross-sectional serosurvey that included 274 women and a 7-year follow-up study that enrolled 98 women, HPV 73 seropositivity was found to be strongly dependent on the number of lifetime sexual partners [OR for > 4 vs. 0 to 1 partners: 6.0 (95%CI: 1.4-53.6) and 7.9 (95% CI: 2.8-28.3), respectively]. Finally, the risk for HPV 73 seropositive women to develop CIN was investigated in a prospective study nested in a cohort of 15,234 Swedish women. The population-based HPV 73 seroprevalence in Sweden was 14%. No excess risk for CIN was found (OR: 0.77). We conclude that HPV 73 is a mainly sexually transmitted, probably mostly transient, infection that does not confer any measurably increased risk for CIN development.