Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection has been well-established as a risk factor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The carcinogenic effect of HPV is mainly due to the E6 and E7 oncoproteins, which inhibit the functions of p53 and pRB, respectively. These oncoproteins could also play a role in the Warburg effect, thus favoring tumor immune escape. Here, we demonstrated that the pro-inflammatory cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is expressed at higher levels in HPV-negative patients than in HPV-positive patients. However, the secretion of MIF is higher in HPV-positive human HNSCC cell lines, than in HPV-negative cell lines. In-HPV positive cells, the half inhibitory concentration (IC50) of MIF inhibitor (4-iodo-6-phenylpyrimidine (4-IPP)) is higher than that in HPV-negative cells. This result was confirmed in vitro and in vivo by the use of murine SCCVII cell lines expressing either E6 or E7, or both E6 and E7. Finally, to examine the mechanism of MIF secretion, we conducted proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) experiments, and observed that lactate production is increased in both the intracellular and conditioned media of HPV-positive cells. In conclusion, our data suggest that the stimulation of enzymes participating in the Warburg effect by E6 and E7 oncoproteins increases lactate production and hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) expression, and finally induces MIF secretion.