Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Herpes and Cold Sores

Herpes vs Cold Sores

It may be considered as your most miserable day once you are diagnosed with an STD. You can either blame yourself for doing it or your partner for doing it with different people. Just in case, get prepared for the course of treatment and abstinence from sex.

Herpes and cold sores are words that are associated with the sexually transmitted disease called herpes. Let us tackle and define both words.

Herpes can be caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2. HSV-1 stands for herpes simplex virus 1 while HSV-2 is herpes simplex virus 2. A cold sore’s causative agent is HSV-1, and this causes the blisters on the mouth. HSV-2, on the other hand, causes genital herpes. So generally, herpes has two main types; the oral herpes caused by HSV-1, and genital herpes caused by HSV-2.

Herpes can manifest different signs and symptoms depending if it’s oral herpes or genital herpes. If it’s oral herpes, then it can manifest as cold sores. Cold sores are painful sores on the mouth in form of blisters. These reddish, bumpy spots can also occur on the nose and lips and may last for a few days. If it’s genital herpes, then there would be painful lesions in the genital area.

The HSV-1 in cold sores can be transmitted via a droplet if there is a break in the oral mucosa’s superficial layer. Genital herpes or HSV-2 can be transmitted via direct skin-to-skin contact. So before engaging in kissing and sex, make sure to assess that person for any signs of herpes infection.

Oral herpes manifesting cold sores are easier to diagnose than genital herpes. Cold sores are evident upon assessment of the face. Genital herpes, on the other hand, is asymptomatic. It is more difficult to diagnose as well because genital herpes resemble other skin problems such as fungal infections and atopic dermatitis.

The herpes virus cannot be totally eliminated in the system. It can only be suppressed. Thus, there will be a chance that the manifestations of cold sores may occur again. Drugs such as Acyclovir and other anti-viral drugs can suppress the virus but not totally eliminate it from the system. Topical creams with anti-viral ingredients help in healing genital herpes.

People diagnosed with herpes are advised to undergo treatment and abstain temporarily from having sex as they can infect vulnerable people. Condoms are advised to be worn at all times as it reduces transmission by 50 per cent.


1. A cold sore is a manifestation of herpes caused by a virus called HSV-1
while herpes is a general term which is either caused by HSV-1 and
2. Cold sores have evident manifestations for oral herpes unlike the genital
herpes type which is asymptomatic.
3. Cold sores can be transmitted via a droplet upon kissing if there is a break
in the surface of the mouth while genital herpes can be transmitted via
skin-to-skin contact.

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  1. I think I would definitely say not temporarily refrain from sex but permanently. I do want to ruin people’s lives, I do heard of a case of young woman in my town who commited suicide because she got infected with HSV. This is something we do not want to happen. thanks for the precise comparison. Cheers!

  2. There is a fair degree of misinformation in this post. Either HSV-1 or HSV-2 can infect ANY surface of the body. In fact, most new cases of Genital Herpes are due to the transmission of HSV-1 to a partner’s genitals, not HSV-2. In short, one person’s cold sores can quite possibly become another person’s genital herpes, should the pertinent body parts meet.

    Either type can be transmitted by direct contact with the infected area during periods of viral shedding. Such recurrences may or may not be severe enough to include a clinical manifestation of herpes (the sores.) Even those on high-dose daily antivirals shed the virus intermittently; antivirals only reduce transmission by 50%. Condoms reduce transmission by 30%.

    – 90% of the human population carries at least one type of Herpes Simplex Virus (1, 2 or both.)
    – Over 80% of those hosts exhibit no noticeable symptoms; not sufficient enough to recognize an issue and seek diagnosis.

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