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Hannah Kingston

Dec 11, 20227 min read

Is HPV Herpes? Everything You Need To Know

The information provided herein does not constitute an expert or medical advice, nor intended to replace such advice.


Is HPV herpes? Can HPV turn into herpes? Understanding the differences between certain sexually transmitted diseases can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be! Today we talk you through some of the common misconceptions between HPV and herpes.

Is HPV herpes?

HPV is not herpes. While both HPV and herpes are classified as viral sexually transmitted diseases, they are not the same thing.

HPV is caused by a group of viruses called human papillomavirus (HPV). Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex viruses.

There are some similarities between HPV and herpes that might lead people to think that they are the same sexually transmitted disease.

For instance, both HPV and herpes can be transmitted via intimate skin-to-skin contact. Both can lead to bumps and lumps in the place of infection and both may be symptomless.

Read: HPV vs Herpes: Similarities & differences

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Is HPV worse than herpes?

This is a hard question to answer because it depends on each person’s unique case. Arguably, HPV could be classified as worse than herpes due to the fact that HPV may lead to cancer, and herpes can be easily managed using anti-viral medication.

Though HPV may be cleared by the body itself, there are some cancer causing strains of HPV including: 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, and 68. HPV16 and HPV18 are the most common cancer-causing strains of HPV.

HPV causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. HPV may also cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read: Does HPV go away?

Herpes, in severe cases may also cause distress and upheaval in those living with either oral or genital herpes. Herpes may either be dormant or active. When herpes is dormant, it means that you are not experiencing any symptoms, however it does not mean that your body has cleared the virus. During outbreaks, those living with the condition may experience pain and discomfort, blisters and lesions.

HPV is “better” than herpes in the fact that once it clear or is treated, it is no longer an issue, unless you are reinfected. Herpes on the other hand cannot be cured but it can be effectively managed.

In sum, it is almost impossible to decide whether HPV or herpes is worse. If you have been diagnosed HPV and herpes, know that both can be treated and the majority of people who are diagnosed will go on to live healthy lives.

Read: HPV symptoms in men

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Buy At-Home HPV Test Today!

Can HPV turn into HSV (herpes)?

HPV cannot turn into HSV (herpes). HPV and HSV (herpes) are different sexually transmitted disease and cannot “transform” into one-another.

The most important thing to remember is that both HPV and HSV may be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms.

Prevention methods should be in place whether or not you are experiencing symptoms. Wearing a condom is the best defence against getting a sexually transmitted disease.

Both HPV and HSV can be transmitted even while wearing a condom, which is why it is so important to get tested on a regular basis.

What are the signs of HPV?

Usually there are no signs or symptoms of HPV.

When symptoms of HPV do appear, they may include:

  • Genital warts: These generally appear in the genital area as flat lesions, tiny protrusions, or small cauliflower-like bumps. In the case of women, most locate in the vulva, but can also occur near the anus, as well as in the cervix or vagina.
  • Plantar warts: Plantar warts usually appear on the balls of the feet causing discomfort.
  • Cancer: Different types of cancer are caused by HPV, in the case of cervical cancer, at least 91% are caused by HPV.

Read: Everything you need to know about HPV

What is the best treatment for HPV?

  • Genital warts: are usually treated with topic solutions as creams with imiquimod, podophyllin, trichloroacetic acid or snatchings which are applied to the warts or other genital tissues surrounding the area. [17]
  • Cervical pre-cancer: Can be treated if women get routine Pap tests and can identify the problems before cancer develops, for this reason testing is crucial.

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