Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is a potentially devastating disease that can have significant morbidity, and can even result in mortality due to airway compromise or, less commonly, malignant transformation. Two distinct types of RRP exist: adult-onset RRP (AO-RRP) and juvenile-onset RRP (JO-RRP). Acquisition of human papillomavirus (HPV), the causative agent of RRP, is believed to occur in the peripartum period in the case of JO-RRP, with disease symptoms (primarily hoarseness) becoming apparent during the first several years of life. Treatment currently consists of surgical debulking of the papillomas to relieve airway obstruction. However, numerous antiviral therapies have also been evaluated, albeit primarily under uncontrolled settings. This article will review the biology, natural history and management of HPV infection, with particular emphasis on JO-RRP. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.