HPV vs Herpes: What Are the Differences?

4 min read

When talking about sexual health and sexually transmitted disease (STD), there is no question that is too specific or 'dumb' to ask. The more you ask, the more you learn about sexual health to prevent any negative consequences. Among all the different questions asked, one of the most common is regarding the differences between HPV vs herpes.


This is actually a frequent question since HPV and herpes are the two most common STDs. Almost 80 million Americans have human papillomavirus (HPV), while 1 in 8 people between 14-49 years old has genital herpes.


To learn more about the difference between these two conditions, read on!


HPV vs. Herpes

The reason why many people are unsure of what they have (HPV or herpes) is because both are common STDs that have many similarities. Both of them cause genital lesions or have no symptoms at all. With that in mind, here are some of their key differences:


Symptoms of Herpes and Symptoms of HPV

Those who have HPV don’t usually experience any symptoms at all. You might not even realize you have it!


However, the most common symptom is warts, though since there are over 150 HPV types, the symptoms depend on the type you contracted. Some can cause warts, others may increase the risk of you developing HPV-related cancer. Warts can occur in the genital area or the mouth and throat, growing as single growths or a cluster of growths, even looking like a cauliflower.


As for herpes, there are two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both types can affect parts of your body, causing either oral or genital herpes. Similar to HPV, herpes might not have symptoms or very mild to unnoticeable symptoms that you may confuse with other things, like ingrown hairs, skin conditions, or the flu.


Related: Can You Catch HPV From A Toilet Seat?

The symptoms depend on where herpes affects you. Either way, you are most likely to experience flu-like symptoms, redness, swelling, itching, or pain in the infected area, blisters or cold sores, among others.


The way it was spread is also different. With HPV, it is through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. With herpes, it can either be skin-to-skin contact or through saliva.

To diagnose HPV, you can undergo an HPV test, which is also sometimes used during Pap tests. Or, visual examination of warts may diagnose certain cases.


For herpes, physical exams are done if there are lesions taken. Samples may be taken to the lab to diagnose the viral cultures.


When treating HPV, the virus can't be cured, though you may be prescribed drugs for warts, or they can be removed when necessary. HPV that was noted from a pap test may have to be managed differently.


The same goes for herpes, as the virus can’t be permanently cured as well. There are antiviral drugs that can treat symptoms and reduce any outbreaks.


Prevention is similar for the two sexually transmitted diseases. While there isn't a way to eliminate the risk of the conditions, you will need to practice safe sex and make sure to get routine screenings. Make sure to practice safe sex not just for anal or vaginal sex, but for oral sex as well.


Hopefully, you were able to learn more about your sexual health and learn the differences between HOV and herpes. This will help you learn how to observe the symptoms and know what to tell your doctor in case you suspect an STD. Make sure that you use protection and safety precautions before intercourse to prevent this from happening, though!


If you have any questions or would like to share your knowledge on sexual health and STDs, do comment below, all your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

We discuss products we think are useful to people. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Remember to check with your personal physician to see if a product recommended is right for you.

More like this:

Subscribe to our newsletter to get education from experts.
Disclaimer & Terms of Use
© 2023 FemHealth® Project. All Rights Reserved.