High-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are highly prevalent worldwide, and HPV genotype distribution varies regionally. Molecular surveys of HPVs are important for effective HPV control and prevention. Fifteen high-risk HPV strains (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68) and six low-risk HPV strains (HPV6, 11, 42, 43, 44, CP8304) were detected by cervical cytology from 10 501 subjects. High-risk HPVs, low-risk HPVs, and both high- and low-risk HPVs were detected in 14·5%, 2·8%, and 2·4% of cases, respectively. Of 1782 subjects with high-risk HPV infection, 75·5%, 18·1%, and 6·4% were infected with one, two, and ⩾3 strains of high-risk HPVs, respectively. HPV52, HPV16, and HPV58 were the top three most dominant high-risk HPV genotypes in our population with positivity rates of 23·0%, 17·7% and 16·9%, respectively. Multiple infection was common, with significantly higher co-infection rates of HPV58/HPV33 (12·9%) and HPV58/HPV52 (11·3%). Further data comparisons showed that HPV genotype distribution varied markedly between domestic and international regions. In conclusion, a monolithic vaccination strategy is obviously impractical, and regional HPV surveillance is essential to optimize current HPV control and prevention.