Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most widely publicized and researched pathogenic DNA viruses. For decades, HPV research has focused on transforming viral activities in cervical cancer. During the past 15 years, however, HPV has also emerged as a major etiological agent in cancers of the head and neck, in particular squamous cell carcinoma. Even with significant strides achieved towards the screening and treatment of cervical cancer, and preventive vaccines, cervical cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-associated deaths for women in developing countries. Furthermore, routine screens are not available for those at risk of head and neck cancer. The current expectation is that HPV vaccination will prevent not only cervical, but also head and neck cancers. In order to determine if previous cervical cancer models for HPV infection and transformation are directly applicable to head and neck cancer, clinical and molecular disease aspects must be carefully compared. In this review, we briefly discuss the cervical and head and neck cancer literature to highlight clinical and genomic commonalities. Differences in prognosis, staging and treatment, as well as comparisons of mutational profiles, viral integration patterns, and alterations in gene expression will be addressed.