The ability of the host to trigger apoptosis in infected cells is perhaps the most powerful tool by which viruses can be cleared from the host organism. To avoid elimination by this mechanism, human papillomaviruses (HPV) have developed several mechanisms that enable the cells they infect to elude both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis. In this manuscript, we review the current literature regarding how HPV-infected cells avoid apoptosis and the molecular mechanisms involved in these events. In particular, we will discuss the modifications in intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways caused by proteins encoded by HPV early genes. Many of the current efforts regarding anti-cancer drug development are focused on directing tumor cells to undergo apoptosis. However, the ability of HPV-infected cells to resist apoptotic signals renders such therapies ineffective. Possible mechanisms for overcoming the resistance of HPV-infected tumor cells to anticancer drugs will be discussed.