The primary aim of this study is to assess differences in patients' clinicopathological characteristics based on human papillomavirus (HPV) status and the effect of HPV status on outcome in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The medical registry of 81 patients who were treated for OSCC was retrospectively analyzed. Factors that are found to be predictive of poor overall survival and event risk by univariate Cox's regression analysis included age greater than 60 years (hazard ratio (HR), 1.2, p = 0.02, and HR, 1.12, p = 0.05), poor Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance (HR,1.6, p = 0.01, and HR,1.32, p = 0.001), advanced T stage (HR,1.38, p = 0.01, and HR,1.4, p = 0.02), advanced N stage(HR, 1.6, p = 0.03, and HR,1.5, p = 0.03), smoking history (HR,1.4, p = 0.04, and HR, 1.6, p = 0.03), and HPV-negative patients (HR, 2.4, p = 0.012, and HR, 1.8, p = 0.01). HPV-positive tumors were estimated to have a 36 % reduction in risk of death and 32 % reduction in event risk. HPV status had independent prognostic effects on survival and event-free survival.