Genital Warts vs. Herpes

Difference Between Genital Warts and Herpes

Genital warts and Genital Herpes are two common sexually transmitted diseases often confused with one another. Although their symptoms may appear similar at first glance, a closer examination could easily reveal your ailment’s true identity.

Genital warts appear as cauliflower shaped growths that appear in remote surfaces of the body; often in the genitals of men and women. This STD is transmitted from one individual to another through direct skin to skin contact, which is often involved in sexual activities. HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus is the main cause for Genital Warts. Presently, there are 70 identified strains of HPV and most of them don’t cause major symptoms. Some strains though have been linked to cervical cancer in women and other forms of carcinoma. Although there is still no known remedy for HPV infection, there are treatments that can remove visible warts, therefore minimizing the chances of spreading it to other people. In men, genital warts can be diagnosed easily through physical examination, while in women; more specialized and invasive methods like Pap Smear are required since wards tend to be hidden inside the vagina or cervix.

Genital herpes is also a viral infection that appears as red and painful rashes and is caused by any of two virus strains: the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Type 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). It can also be transmitted through intercourse and direct skin to skin contact. Genital herpes is known to spread not just on the genitals, but even around the mouth and other areas of the body. HSV-1 has been closely associated with Herpes forming on the lips and mouth while HSV-2 is mainly to blame for genital herpes. Physical contact with an infected individual is often enough to transmit the disease, but it has been found that more women are infected with herpes compared to men.

How Can You Tell Which One You’ve Got?

While most people tend to get confused between Herpes and Genital Warts, there are some obvious differences that can help you distinguish between the two. Although both are viral infections, warts are caused by HPV while Herpes is caused by 2 types of HSV. Both can be transmitted through skin contact and sexual activity, but warts appear as soft or hard cauliflower-like and painless bumps while Herpes appears as a severe and painful red rash. Genital warts also tend to be concentrated on certain parts of the body while Herpes continues to spread and infect other body surfaces. The red bumps caused by Herpes also become sores and cause severe pain as the virus undergoes its regular cycle. There are no known cures for both STDs, but genital wards have been known to clear on its own on certain instances.