Herpes and HPV are often asymptomatic, meaning they cause no symptoms. But when they do, the symptoms are different. The initial outbreak of herpes may cause flu-like symptoms, including headache, swollen glands and fever, as well as aching or tingling in the groin area, which may be red and irritated. Small painful fluid-filled lesions, blisters, will appear which weep and scab over before disappearing. In subsequent outbreaks, pain, tingling or itching may precede the blisters by a couple days. Herpes is at its most contagious while the sores are oozing, but the virus is shed through all the phases of the blister cycle and can even be shed when no outbreak is visible.
HPV, on the other hand, can cause the visible symptom of warts when the immune system does not fight off the virus. Genital warts look quite different from the herpes lesions. Genital warts can be soft, moist, or flesh-colored, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. They do not ooze or scab over as herpes lesions do. Genital warts are often compared to cauliflower in appearance. The warts can appear in clusters or not, be flat or raised, small or large. They may appear on the genitals or anuses of both sexes and in women can also appear on the cervix or inside the vagina.