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What does a herpes sore look like and what does a syphilis sore look like?

Before I tell you a little about what these sores look like, let me encourage you that if you have a suspicious lesion (sore) on your genitals, bum or mouth, get STI testing.  The health care practitioner will swab it and send it to a lab for confirmation.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly what it is, so testing is really the only way to find out.  Sometimes, if the practitioner is reasonably sure, they may even be able to treat you before the test results come back.

Also, the absence of a sore doesn’t always indicate the absence of a sexually transmitted infection.  Not all STIs have symptoms, so setting up routine testing is recommended if you are sexually active.  Remember too, that even if a sore goes away, it doesn’t mean that the STI has gone away.  Without treatment, sexually transmitted infections won’t go away and will affect your health.

OK, now that I’ve covered those bases, here are some basics:

A syphilis sore usually:

  • looks like a moist, circular, flat sore
  • there may be 1 or more
  • it may look painful, but is not typically painful

A herpes sore usually:

  • looks like a raised sore, sort of like a blister or pimple
  • will be fluid filled, and will pop
  • it will open and heal
  • there may be 1 or more
  • herpes tends to be painful

I hope this is helpful.  Just remember if you have a suspicious sore on your genitals, bum or mouth, get STI testing to find out what it is and treat it or manage it.