It’s difficult for some people to know if they have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or not. Still more complex is to tell the difference between one STI and the other.
Two infections that often get confused are Thrush and Herpes. While these infections are both incredibly common and share some symptoms, they are very different.
In this blog post, we’ll be covering what Thrush and Herpes are, how they’re transmitted, the similarities and differences in symptoms, and how to tell them apart.
So, let’s dive in!
Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are infections that spread primarily through sexual activity. There are many different types of STIs, including viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections. Common STIs include Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV, and Syphilis.
STIs are transmitted through sexual contact, which includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Some STIs can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact, or through sharing sex toys. Certain behaviours, such as having unprotected sex or having multiple sexual partners, can increase your risk of contracting an STI.
Herpes and Thrush are common infections with similar symptoms and can be easily confused. However, they are caused by different types of pathogens.
Herpes is caused by one of two Herpes Simplex viruses. Herpes Simplex Virus Type I, or HSVI, is sometimes called Oral Herpes. This virus tends to affect the area around the mouth and causes cold sores. The virus is transmitted through physical touch, like kissing.
HSVII, more commonly known as Genital Herpes, primarily spreads through sexual contact between genitals, and can cause painful sores to appear around the genital area.
Thrush, on the other hand, is a yeast infection caused by an overabundance of Candida fungus in the genitals. These infections are usually not dangerous, but they can cause uncomfortable symptoms. Because Thrush is caused by a naturally occurring fungus, it is not considered an STI. There is also little evidence to suggest that Thrush can be transmitted sexually.
While Thrush is most commonly experienced by women, men can also get Thrush, including on the penis.
Both Herpes and Thrush can cause the following symptoms in the genital area:
While Herpes and Thrush share some common symptoms, there are also several key differences.
Herpes is often characterised by painful, fluid-filled blisters that can recur over time. These blisters can occur on the genital area, mouth, and lips, depending on the strain of the virus you have.
Conversely, Thrush typically causes white patches and cottage-cheese-like discharge from the genitals.
Knowing how to identify the symptoms of STIs like Herpes is important for maintaining good sexual health. Remember that practising safe sex, including using condoms, can help reduce your risk of contracting an STI.
If you’re concerned that you may have an STI, it’s important to get tested as soon as possible. Better2Know’s STI tests are fast, reliable, and discreet, so you can get the answers you need to take control of your health.