Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Herpes (HSV) are one of the most commonly reported STDs in the US. Both Herpes and HPV are caused by viral agents. HSV and HPV viruses can transmit via skin-to-skin contact including sexual contact such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and coming in contact with surfaces where either of these viruses have been exposed to also puts you at risk.
Herpes and HPV have many similarities, leading to confusion among some people in knowing which one they have. In this article, we explain their differences, similarities, and how to get tested for both.
- What is Herpes?
- What is HPV?
- Are Herpes and HPV the Same STD?
- Symptoms of Herpes
- Symptoms of HPV
- Herpes Vs HPV Warts
- Genital Herpes Vs HPV Warts
- Oral Herpes Vs Oral HPV
- Is Herpes (or HPV) the Same as HIV?
- Is Herpes or HPV Worse?
- Treatment: Herpes Vs HPV
- How do I know if I’m Affected with Herpes or HPV?
- Get Tested for Herpes and HPV
- Is there any STD home test kit available?
- Cost of Herpes and HPV Testing in the US
- Is there any preparation required before the test?
- Providers Locations
What is Herpes?
Herpes Simplex Virus causes the Herpes STD infection. There are two strains of Herpes namely, HSV-1 and HSV-2. The first strain Herpes-1 is more likely linked to oral symptoms and commonly referred to as the Oral Herpes. The second type of HSV primarily causes symptoms in genital areas in both sexes, thus having a second name as Genital Herpes.
Symptoms of Herpes
Generally, herpes STD does not exhibit any symptoms during the initial stages after you contract from an infected person. Sings of Herpes STD include oozing sores or blisters, or itching or pain in the infected area – mouth and/or the genitals. The symptoms are mild and go unnoticed in most cases.
It is also worth noting that the mild symptoms of herpes-like sores are often confused with ingrown hairs, skin conditions like pimples, and flu-like diseases.
It is vital to get tested and treated for Herpes, if left untreated complications from herpes can include:
- Contracting other STIs, which can be transmitted easier through herpes sores
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and other bladder problems, such as swelling of the urethra
- Rectal inflammation, commonly seen in men
- Meningitis – inflammation in the brain and spinal fluid, however, this is rare
Pregnant women who have Herpes STD can expose the newborns to the virus during delivery and health issues may befall the fetus like brain damage, blindness, or even fatality.
What is HPV?
HPV is the shortened form of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), another type of STD that is caused by a virus. Warts (small outgrown flesh-like) on the genitals and around the oral cavity is the most common symptom of HPV. However, HPV often comes silently with no noticeable symptoms.
Genital warts can be removed with the help of antibiotics, cream, or surgery. Most people who get HPV can easily fight off the virus without further problems. A handful of people whose immune system is compromised due to various conditions such as smoking or alcoholic are prone to have HPV for lifelong and sometimes it may lead to cancer.
The biggest risk of untreated HPV is cervical cancer and other cancers around the genitals, including the:
- Anus (anal cancer)
- Vulva and vagina
- Penis (penile cancer)
Developing cancer due to HPV can take several years. The development of cancer is related to which type of HPV you may have, as HPV has more than 100 types/strains. However, only 14 of them are considered high-risk and cancerous.
If you are sexually active, getting routine STI testing can help you away from these types of STDs. There is also a famous saying that ”Prevention is better than cure”, which can apply here as not having sex is highly advisable because it prevents from acquiring life-threatening STDs like Herpes, HPV, and HIV.
Are Herpes and HPV the Same STDs?
People often ask “Is Herpes and HPV connected?”. Though Herpes and HPV are caused by viruses and they have similar expanded form, it is important to understand that they are completely different types and caused by different viral agents.
Both HPV and Herpes share similar qualities in terms of symptoms – yet they have certain differences. Herpes causes more irritation/discomfort and more like sores (kind of pimples), but HPV is painless and appears as warts (kind of small out-grown flesh) around the genitals and the mouth and has a more serious impact on long-term health like cancers.
In fact, HPV is much more common than herpes. According to research from CDC, nearly every sexually active person having more than one sex partner will contract the HPV virus at least once in their lifetime. If you are hyper sexually active, it’s possible to contract one or both of these viruses at the same time.
Symptoms Differences of Herpes and HPV
Following are some of the key differences between Herpes and HPV STDs.
Herpes Symptoms Vs HPV Warts
The symptoms of Herpes appear like sores and HPV appears as warts. Both Herpes and HPV do not show any symptoms early stage. Herpes also exhibit flu-like symptoms, including swollen glands, fever, chills, and headache. Also, skin conditions like pain and itching around the genital area or where the infection will likely erupt.
Oral Herpes Vs Oral HPV
Oral STDs are commonly reported by individuals who perform oral sex. Oral Herpes and Oral HPV are likely to occur if you had oral sex with an infected person, this accounts for both giving and receiving.
The symptoms appear around the lips, mouth, and throat. In the case of oral herpes symptoms include painful, fluid-filled blisters on the lips or under the nose and cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. On the other hand, oral HPV is identified by warts growing individually or in groups around the oral cavity. Read more about Oral HPV here.
Is Herpes (or HPV) the Same as HIV?
Just because Herpes and Human Papillomavirus have viruses at the end of their name or caused by viral agents, it doesn’t imply that these STDs are HIV (Human Immuno Deficiency Virus). All three types are completely different from one another.
Is Herpes or HPV Worse?
Both the virus have similarities in terms of cure. There’s NO CURE for either HPV or herpes. However, Herpes is more likely to remain for years and cause severe illness over the long run, the HPV virus may disappear from the body on its own (only in some patients with strong immunity). If HPV doesn’t go away it may also lead to health complications such as cancer.
Treatment: Herpes Vs HPV
There is no complete cure for either Herpes or HPV. There are some antibiotics to control the symptoms and reduce the chances of virus contraction to other partners.
One positive thing about HPV is that you may be lucky to get rid of the virus naturally without any treatment or medications. If the HPV warts are persistent there are treatment options available for treating the symptoms of HPV.
HPV warts are treated with the following medications that help lessen the effects of warts. They include imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara), podofilox (Condylox), and Sinecatechins (Veregen).
Sometimes your doctor will remove warts through surgery if medications or the virus itself does not do the job. If a high-risk HPV is found, further monitoring will be undertaken to ensure that cancer doesn’t occur, or is detected early.
Similar to HPV, there is no cure for Herpes. Antiviral medications are prescribed to help clear up symptoms like sores and others signs. Antivirals medications may include acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex).
As Herpes sores are sometimes painful, you may be asked to wear loose clothing to help reduce irritation from blisters and keep skin clean and dry to support the healing of sores.
It is important to note that even though the Herpes symptoms may disappear after or during the treatment period, it doesn’t mean that you are completely cured of the virus. The virus is still alive dormant and there are high chances of contracting it to others through sexual contact.
Get Tested for Herpes and HPV
There are different types of tests to get diagnosed for Herpes and HPV STDs. Firstly, you need to take an initial screening test for the Herpes and/or HPV that you suspect of having exposed to (i.e. based on the symptoms you experience).
It may be any of the tests like using a cotton swab in the infected area such as mouth, throat, vagina, anus, or penis or may be asked to take a blood sample or a urine sample. If you are tested positive, an advanced test might be required to know the exact stage and decide the treatment accordingly. If you are opting for a blood test, the blood specimen will be taken by finger prick or by infection.
You’ll also be asked to retest after the completion of your treatment course to know that you are completely cured. It is also recommended that not involve in any sexual activities until you are retested again and tested Herpes-free or HPV-free.
Is there any STD home test kit available?
One of our STD testing providers offers at-home Herpes and HPV testing. The home test kits are mostly preferred by people who are not convenient to get tested by visiting the lab or who do not have time to visit the lab.
At-home Herpes and HPV testing require a sample taken using a cotton swab in the infected areas or a blood drop using the given finger prick. Before taking the sample, read the instructions carefully mentioned in the kit and after collecting the sample, post it back to the given address. The results will be emailed to you in 2 – 5 business days.
Cost of Herpes and HPV Testing in the US
Herpes test cost ranges between $55 and $79 and HPV STD testing costs around $79 in different labs and facilities across the U.S.
No prior appointment is required. Compare the price, order your test online and visit the nearest lab during lab business hours. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days. Doctor consultation is also available for further treatment or any kind of medical advice.
Herpes STD Testing Cost
The following table shows the Herpes test cost at 3 of our partner laboratories (CLIA – Certified) network located across the US.
Name of our Partner Labs
(Home Test Kit)
HPV STD Testing Cost
We have chosen the best, yet affordable at-home STD testing kit provider and listed it for you. No prior appointment is required. Compare the price, order your test online and shop the STD home testing kit. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days.
The following table shows the HPV STD home testing kit cost at one of our partner laboratories (CLIA – Certified) network located across the U.S.
Name of our Partner Labs
(Home Test Kit)
Comprehensive STD Testing Cost (Including Herpes and HPV)
Taking multiple STD tests individually might be more expensive, rather go with a comprehensive test package which is considerably low cost compared to all the individual tests summed up.
We have identified the top-selling STD in the U.S. at-home products of myLAB Box and listed them below with some details.
8-Panel STD at Home Test ($199) – Get 8 tests sitting at home. HIV (I & II), Hepatitis C, Herpes Simplex Type II, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, & Trichomoniasis – Order Now
14 Panel STD at Home Test ($369) – Get the most comprehensive home STD test kit covering Chlamydia (genital, throat, rectal), Gonorrhea (genital, throat, rectal), Hepatitis C, HIV I & II, Herpes Simplex 2, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Mycoplasma Genitalium, HPV (optional add-on for women 30 years of age and older) – Order Now
Cost of Herpes and HPV Testing with Insurance
Many health insurance policies in the U.S. do not cover the cost of the STD tests like Herpes or HPV, you are required to pay out of pocket. However, the coverage offered by private health insurance policies and national health insurance programs varies widely. So we recommend you check with your insurance company.
Our Herpes and HPV testing providers do not accept any health insurance. But, on request, they can provide you with a receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
There is no special requirement for taking Herpes or HPV tests. You can continue with your regular diet and activities. If you are providing a cotton swab sample, it is advisable not to wipe the infected area before taking the sample for better and more accurate results.
Herpes and HPV testing can be done in any of the following states either by visiting the nearest provider or by ordering the Herpes and HPV home test kit.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- New York
Frequently Asked Question
Will insurance cover my STD testing cost?
No. Generally, our providers do not accept insurance in order to ensure your privacy. However, they will provide you with a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment for STD testing?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order anytime before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide a doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
In order to ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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