Human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) are two common infections that can transmit from the infected person to their sexual partner through vaginal, oral, and sex. These sexually transmitted infections (STIs) mostly affect the infected person’s skin. Despite some similarities between them, they are two different viruses. So, the ideas, such as they can turn into each other or these are the same, are misinformation. HPV and HSV are independent and separate sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that differ in various ways. Yet, many people might mistake the two viruses; therefore, we needed to indicate an article about the difference between HPV and HSV in 2023. More information on the different aspects of this matter will be mentioned in the following.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease that may infect every person at some point in their lives. This virus can cause dangerous effects and, eventually, even cause death or may go away without any symptoms or particular effects. On the other hand, HSV, or herpes as its more common name, is an infection caused by two types of its virus, including HSV-1 and HSV-2, according to the CDC. This infection too is common among sexually active people, and there are a considerable number of new cases annually; however, it is not as common as HPV. According to the WHO, in 2023, about 67 percent of the world’s population have HSV-1 and about 13 percent HSV-2, most of which do not have any symptoms. But to distinguish between HPV and HSV and find out which one someone has, more information on the difference between HPV and HSV is needed, which the following contains.
HPV vs HSV
Many people need to know the difference between HPV and HSV to determine which one they may have. In contrast, others want to know the differences and learn more about them to protect themselves against these sexually transmitted diseases. Though HPV and herpes may be similar in some ways, including being STI and common, they differ in many other matters. Both viruses can pass from one person to another through sexual activity, even at one time. In addition, there are about 200 types of HPV, while there are only two types of HSV or herpes, resulting in a difference between HPV and HSV.
The difference between HPV and HSV can be found in various things. These differences can be in the appearance, symptoms, effects, and treatments each of these STIs has. Therefore, it is important to study and learn more about them to provide immunity for yourself against these infections and protect your loved ones and children by teaching them effective and practical prevention methods in 2023. It is only through this way that, hopefully, the world can end the harms of these sexually transmitted diseases.
Appearance and Symptoms
HSV-1 is usually transmitted through oral-to-oral contact, which results in appearing symptoms in or around the mouth as well. According to the WHO, in 2023, oral herpes may occur as blisters in the oral cavity; in most cases, they are painful for the infected person. HSV-2, or genital herpes, appears with symptoms such as open sores or blisters on the genitals or anus; they may also be painful. On the other hand, according to the NHS, HPV mostly does not occur with any symptoms, meaning that most people with this infection may not notice it and transmit the virus to other people. However, HPV might appear with painless lumps that grow around or on the vagina, anus, and penis. So, one difference between HPV and HSV is the difference in genital warts and herpes outbreaks. In other words, genital warts are painless, while herpes outbreaks are painful. Also, the herpes symptoms can appear in the oral as mentioned; the HPV symptoms or genital warts only appear on the genitals, as its name suggests.
The effects of HPV and herpes on the body are the main difference between HPV and HSV. Even though the symptoms of herpes are painful and the HPV symptoms are not, the effects of the latter of the two can be worse. According to the WHO, new cases of HSV in 2023 can cause fever and aches in different parts of the body. It may also cause painful blisters on the mouth or private parts; however, this STI is not deadly and, in most cases, does not even cause any effects or symptoms. So compared to HPV, it does not cause serious health problems.
On the contrary, HPV can cause different cancers and even death. HPV-related cancers include cancers of the vagina, anus, penis, and back of the throat. It can also cause cervical cancer, which according to the CDC, is one of the most common cancers among women worldwide, and HPV is responsible for most cases. The estimations recommend that about 14,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. alone in 2023, and unfortunately, 4,000 of these cases may lead to death. This shows an important difference between HPV and HSV, meaning HPV’s effects can be far more dangerous than herpes. However, not every case of HPV develops into cancer, and many of them go away without any particular effects.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for HPV and HSV in 2023. However, the CDC and WHO both recommend the daily use of some antiviral medicines to manage and control the outbreaks of HSV or herpes warts. This can help to prevent recurring blisters and reduce the pain they cause. On the other hand, although there is no treatment for HPV in 2023 as well, infected people can treat and control the effects of this sexually transmitted infection; they can also prevent getting the other types of HPV with the help of some effective methods, which we will discuss in the following.
As mentioned earlier, both HPV and HSV are incurable. However, although there is no cure for the viruses, the effects that they have on the body can be cured or at least controlled. For example, as the CDC suggests, doctors give some medicines, such as Acyclovir, to patients with HSV or herpes to decrease pain. However, the methods differ for HPV, indicating another difference between HPV and HSV. There is no cure for HPV, but its warts and cancers will be curable in 2023. For instance, the doctor may advise a patient with genital warts to remove them by surgery, based on the infected person’s health situation. Still, preventing HPV and HSV is always easier and better than trying to cure them.
Although some prevention methods may work for both STIs, they differ in the main prevention ways. For instance, sexually active people can prevent both of these sexually transmitted diseases, as well as other ones, by the proper use of condoms. They can also reduce the risk of getting these infections by having sex with only one person, who only have sex with them. However, the infected person, whether they have the symptoms or not, can transmit oral herpes with their salvia by using the same glass, kissing, etc. HPV, on the other hand, can pass from one person to the other by sex and close skin-to-skin contact during sex, according to the CDC. Regarding the difference between HPV and HSV, HPV also has another prevention method that is more reliable and effective: HPV vaccination. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines to prevent HSV in 2023, and safe sex is the only way to protect yourself from this infection. This explains why educating young people on safe sex practices is important in societies.
Although there is still no vaccine for HSV or herpes in 2023, there are some licensed and approved vaccines for HPV that can prevent both genital warts and HPV-related cancers with more than 90 percent success. However, they are not currently accessible to everyone worldwide, and even if they are, their costs are not affordable for many people. But hopefully, with the help of biosimilar vaccines, which have the same quality as biologic vaccines and a more affordable price, most of the world’s population can prevent HPV in 2023. Thanks to the companies, including Opal Biopharma, that produce these effective vaccines, there is hope that one day the world can end the HPV virus and its related cancers.
Raising Awareness: Protecting Society
Though HSV and HPV are two common STIs that most people may experience, and the latter is the leading cause of cervical cancer, many are unaware of the consequences of not vaccinating. Also, many people aware of these diseases are unwilling to get the vaccine, which has caused the prevalence of the two viruses even in 2023. Therefore, raising awareness and teaching about the benefits of HPV vaccination for people, especially preteens, is the best way to protect society. This can be practical with the help of schools, health centers, media, and social interaction, so hopefully, we can raise awareness about the difference between HPV and HSV and how to prevent them.
HPV and HSV are two common sexually transmitted infections that pass from one person to the other through sex. Many confuse the two and do not know the difference between HPV and HSV. Despite the similarities, these two STDs differ in various ways, including appearance, symptoms, effects, and treatments. HSV or herpes may appear with painful blisters, while HPV usually has no symptoms, and its warts are painless. Also, the new HSV in 2023 can cause aches in the body and fever, while HPV effects are worse and can cause cancer, especially cervical cancer. According to the CDC, there are currently no treatments for the two of them in 2023; however, some medications can help people with HSV control their pain and symptoms. Also, though there is no cure for HPV, its cancers and warts can be treated. Vaccines are the best ways to protect oneself from all these, including HPV-related cancers. In conclusion, by raising public awareness about the difference between HPV and HSV and the prevention methods, such as using condoms and getting the HPV vaccine, the world can stop the prevalence of these viruses.