BACKGROUND: HIV-positive women have a high prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and are infected with a broader range of HPV types than HIV-negative women. It is not known to what extent these different types are associated with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) and cancer. METHODS: Meta-analysis of HPV type-specific prevalence among HIV-positive women, stratified by geographical region and by cervical cytology: normal, atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance/low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (ASCUS/LSIL) or HSIL. RESULTS: In 20 studies, 5578 HIV-positive women were identified, largely from North America but also Africa, Asia, Europe and South/Central America. For 3230 with no cytological abnormalities, prevalence was 36.3% for any HPV and 11.9% for multiple HPV types. The six most common high-risk HPV types were 16 (4.5%), 58 (3.6%), 18 (3.1%), 52 (2.8%), 31 (2.0%) and 33 (2.0%). HPV16 was also the most common type in 2053 HIV-positive women with ASCUS/LSIL and 295 with HSIL. Those with HSIL were significantly less likely to be infected with HPV16 (odds ratio, 0.6; 95% confidence interval, 0.4-0.7) than the general female population with HSIL. In contrast, HIV-positive women with HSIL were significantly more likely to be infected with HPV types 11, 18, 33, 51, 52, 53, 58 and 61, and with multiple HPV types. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of HIV-positive women with HPV16 rose with increasing severity of cervical lesions. Nevertheless, HPV16 remained underrepresented in HIV-positive women with HSIL, who showed a higher proportion of other HPV types and multiple types compared with the general female population with HSIL.