Herpes and HIV – are they same? – Differences, Symptoms, Testing and Much More

Herpes Vs. HIV - STDTestGuru

People often get confused when they hear Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) assume they are the same disease pronounced differently. However, that is not the case. HIV and Herpes are completely different types of diseases that even have their own causing agents.

What is HIV?

Human Immuno Deficiency Virus is a type of virus that spreads from one person to another via sexual contact, including vaginal and anal sex. Typically HIV progresses into three types of stages and symptoms change as the stage advances. Following are three stages of this STD –

  1. Acute HIV infection
  2. Chronic HIV
  3. AIDS

HIV cannot be transmitted orally and thus oral HIV is rare. HIV is one of the most commonly reported STDs in the United States.

What is Herpes?

Herpes Simplex Virus is a type of virus that spreads from one person to another via sexual contact, including oral and anal sex. Typically Herpes is classified into two types depending on the place where the infection and symptoms occur. Following are two strains of this STD –

  1. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1)
  2. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2)

The first strain HSV-1 is a type that infected the oral cavity and causes oral symptoms. HSV-1 is also commonly referred to as Oral Herpes. The later type of HSV causes symptoms in genital areas in both sexes – HSV-2 is also commonly known as Genital Herpes.

Symptoms of HIV

HIV damages your immune CD4 cells that are responsible for immune and protection against foreign infection. Symptoms in the initial stages include flu-like symptoms – however, it is always a good idea to get tested and to know for sure if you are sexually active.

Acute stage HIV symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • joint and muscle pains
  • stomach upset
  • rashes

During the second stage, signs may disappear and you may seem to be healthy, thus the second HIV stage is also known as Asymptomatic HIV infection or clinical latency. But the HIV virus keeps depleting your CD$ immune cells, causing damages to your immune system and leading to the final stage of AIDS.

Final stage AIDS symptoms include:

  • serious illness
  • persistent cough
  • fever
  • chronic diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • purplish spot in the skin
  • night sweats
  • yeast infection
  • neurological symptoms (balance problem, seizures, memory loss, or confusion)

Stages and Symptoms of HIV - STDTestGuru

Symptoms of Herpes

Herpes Simplex Virus causes oozing sores or blisters, or itching or pain in the infected area – mouth and/or the genitals. When you get in touch with the infected person that has some kind of blisters around the genital or mouth, you can also get infected. Symptoms can be mild in the initial stages and resemble ingrown hairs, other skin conditions like pimples, and flu-like diseases – however, it is always a good idea to get tested and to know for sure if you are sexually active.

Leaving Herpes undetected and untreated can lead to severe health complications such as Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), and other kidney-related problems. Rectal inflammation can be seen in untreated Herpes in men and sometimes it can lead to Meningitis – a type of inflammation in the brain and spinal fluid.

Pregnant women who are infected with Herpes STD can transmit the newborn baby with the same infection causing them even more vulnerable to the virus resulting in brain damage, blindness, or even fatality.

Causes and symptoms of herpes

Are Herpes and HIV the same thing?

Both Herpes and HIV share similar symptoms and transmission ways but they are completely different. HIV is more of flu-like symptoms in the initial phases and followed by no symptoms and then final stages arrive with more severe signs like weight loss, diarrhea, and neurological symptoms, on the other hand, Herpes is painless and appears as warts around the genitals and the mouth which can lead to health complications like cancers.

Now, which is more common? Is it Herpes or HIV? Well, Herpes STD seems to be more common than HIV. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly every sexually active person having more than one sex partner will contract an STD like Herpes or HIV at least once in their lifetime.

Can Herpes cause HIV?

Just because HIV and Herpes Simplex Virus have viruses at the end of their name it doesn’t imply that these STDs can open the doors to one another. Also, these are completely different from HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). All three types are completely different from one another. When you have Herpes and get engaged sexually with HIV infected, then and only then do you have a chance of acquiring HIV.

Which is worse – HIV or Herpes?

HIV and Herpes are not bacteria-caused infections that can be terminated with the help of antibiotics or drugs. They are caused by two different viruses which have no fighting agent discovered yet. Therefore, there is no cure for both HIV and Herpes. HIV tends to cause slow damages to the body since the appearance of the symptoms, but the signs and the level of viruses play can be controlled with antiretroviral therapy drugs if the disease is addressed in its initial phase.

Over the long run, both can cause long-term complications to your health. HIV and Herpes can lead to neurological disorders if ignored to get treated in the initial phases.

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