Male sexual partners of a cohort of women with genital-tract abnormalities which were associated with human papillomavirus infection were examined for evidence of infection with human papillomavirus. Of the 214 male partners who were examined, 93.5% had visible genital lesions. Of the 196 lesions that were biopsied, 72.5% showed histological evidence of infection with human papillomavirus, and only 20.4% of subjects with histological evidence of human papillomavirus were aware of a lesion. An unexpectedly high proportion (6.1%) of lesions on which a biopsy was performed, particularly whose with flat, red, indurated morphology, also showed histological evidence of penile intraepithelial neoplasia. This was not significantly more common among the partners of the women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia than it was among the partners of the women with other evidence of genital human papillomavirus infection. Penile intraepithelial neoplasia was significantly (P < 0.001) more common among subjects with no history of non-genital warts. We conclude that the male partners of women with human papillomavirus-associated lesions are very likely to be infected with human papillomavirus, and thus may act as a significant reservoir for the reinfection of their female partners. As the awareness of human papillomavirus-associated lesions was low among the male partners, colposcopic examination and treament of their male partners, and/or barrier contraception, may be a necessary part of the management of women who are undergoing treatment for human papillomavirus-associated genital disease.