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What does a herpes sore look like?

Herpes symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Some people experience mild, infrequent symptoms that are easy to mistake for something else.  There are also people who have no symptoms at all.   On the other hand, some people have noticeable blisters or sores that look similar to a cold sore.  They may also have tingling, itching, burning or painful sensations, and sometimes make it painful to pee.  Most people report that their first ever episode of symptoms are the most painful, and that episodes that follow are often more manageable.  While herpes does not have a cure, there are treatments and tips to manage the symptoms and ease discomfort.

Herpes sores, called lesions, can affect:

  • the vulva
  • the entrance to the vagina
  • the foreskin, shaft or end of the penis
  • on or around the anus
  • the buttocks or thighs
  • the mouth or lips

If you are concerned that you have herpes, see a doctor or nurse to discuss testing.  There will have to be a sore present they can swab to send a sample to the lab.  Because other sexually transmitted infections can cause sores, testing for other STIs will likely also be recommended.

If you’re sexually active, we recommend routine STI testing.  You can get tested by your health care provider, at a local testing clinic, or Nine Circles Community Health Centre and discuss with them how often testing is right for you.

Sex Friendly Manitoba also has other posts on herpes that you might want to read.