Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer world-wide. Here, we show that native HPV particles produced in a differentiated epithelium have developed different strategies to infect the host. Using biochemical inhibition assays and glycosaminoglycan (GAG)-negative cells, we show that of the four most common cancer-causing HPV types, HPV18, HPV31, and HPV45 are largely dependent on GAGs to initiate infection. In contrast, HPV16 can bind and enter through a GAG-independent mechanism. Infections of primary human keratinocytes, natural host cells for HPV infections, support our conclusions. Further, this renders the different virus types differentially susceptible to carrageenan, a microbicide targeting virus entry. Our data demonstrates that ordered maturation of papillomavirus particles in a differentiating epithelium may alter the virus entry mechanism. This study should facilitate a better understanding of the attachment and infection by the main oncogenic HPV types, and development of inhibitors of HPV infection.