Noticing a sign of Herpes can be worrying, but don’t panic. It is easy to mistake Herpes for something else. Here, we explain the other potential causes for Herpes-like symptoms and how to find out if it is Herpes, or not.

The Herpes Simplex Virus, also known as Herpes, is often misunderstood yet an extremely common infection. The symptoms of Herpes usually form as sores and blisters in the oral and/or genital area, depending on which type of Herpes it is. However, it is not always easy to differentiate the symptoms from other health or skin conditions.

Are you worried about Herpes? Order Better2Know’s Herpes Home Test Kit today.


The basics

Firstly, let’s understand the two most common types of Herpes:

  • Oral Herpes (HSV-1). This appears around the lips and nose or inside the mouth, commonly known as ‘cold sores’ or ‘fever blisters’
  • Genital Herpes (HSV-2). This appears as sores or blisters in the genital area.

Often, people with Herpes will not show any symptoms. In fact, only 1 in 3 people will have symptoms, whilst the majority will have either mild symptoms or none. Therefore, it is highly likely that a person may not even be aware that they have the virus.

If someone is infected with Herpes, they can spread the virus to another person through skin to skin contact, including kissing and sex. HSV-2 can be passed to a partner through oral sex, if the person performing oral sex is infected with HSV-1.

When the virus is passed from one person to another, this most often occurs when either person has active sores or blisters. So, if you have visible symptoms, you should always refrain from sexual contact. However, Herpes can also be passed when symptoms are not present. Using condoms can help to prevent spreading or catching Herpes, but since condoms do not cover the entire genital area, they are not 100% effective.

What else can resemble Herpes?

Herpes symptoms can be mistaken for many other things, including:

  • A different STI which causes visible lesions, such as Syphilis or genital warts (HPV)
  • Irritation caused by shaving
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Pimples
  • Yeast infections
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Bug bites.

How to be sure whether it is Herpes or not

If you have noticed symptoms that are concerning you, getting tested is the only way to be sure whether it is Herpes or not. You can choose to book an appointment at one of our nationwide clinics or test at home with one of our convenient home test kits.

If you do have symptoms, a simple swab test can provide you with the peace of mind you need. Alternatively, why not consider our Blemish Screen? This swab test will detect Syphilis, Herpes and HPV, so you can be sure which (if any) is causing your symptoms. This is available as a home test kit, or you can book in at one of our clinics. Find out more here.

With our convenient Photo Consultation service, you can send a photo of your lesion(s) to our expert doctor who will review your photograph and recommend the next steps based on your symptoms. If you feel unsure about which test or screen to book, this is the perfect option for you.

If you do not have symptoms but would like to find out whether you have the Herpes virus, a simple blood test will tell you this.

Book an STI screen at a sexual health clinic near you.




[2] Everyday Health

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