Herpes pictures can be shocking and deceiving

Don’t worry! Pictures of herpes found on the web are usually worst case scenarios and are not typical!

Herpes pictures are some of the first things people tend to search for when they are newly diagnosed or worry they may be infected. Then the panic sets in. What shows up on the web can be horrifying and downright scary! Some look like a flesh-eating disease from a third world country. Don’t freak out because many of the pictures you will come across are probably the very extreme cases of a herpes outbreak.

Important Note – You cannot determine whether or not you have herpes simply by looking at pictures.  Some will look at the images online and think, “My symptoms don’t look like THAT!!!”  Then, they unknowingly pass the herpes virus to their partner.  The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

So, what does herpes actually look like? Under a microscope, HSV1 (Oral) and HSV2 (Genital) look virtual identical. When most people search for pictures of the herpes virus, they usually end up seeing what a worst case outbreak looks like…and they are not pretty!

First, let’s start off by mentioning that the first outbreak is probably the worst. Suppressive medication like Valtrex or Acyclovir can help alleviate the symptoms.  Yes,  it can suck, be painful and the fear can be overwhelming. For most, the symptoms lessen as time goes on. Many of our members report that they have very infrequent outbreaks or have not had any in years.

Herpes affects everyone differently. So, for simplicity, let’s break it down into four groups of what herpes can look like:

The extreme case – These are the horrific pictures that you will likely come across if you do a search for herpes pictures on the internet. Again, these are usually the very extreme cases of a first outbreak.

The typical case – It will look like a small clump of little blisters or pimples and can show up in multiple areas.

The mild case – It can look like an ingrown hair or just a tiny red dot. People who work out a lot may even mistake it for discomfort from clothing that rubs or even jock itch.

The “No Symptom” case – This is the most dangerous case in regards to the spread of herpes. This group either has no symptoms or they are so slight that they do not realize they are infected. This, according to many medical professionals, is the largest group with up to 80% of the people infected with the herpes virus.  Even if no outbreak is present, you can still pass the virus to a partner.

So, just remember that herpes can look like a lot of things.  The best thing to do is get tested.  Of course, if you want to see what herpes CAN look like, HERE are some examples.  Hopefully, you will feel better about seeing them after reading this!



  1. Shell 11 years ago

    Thank you for this! I have had herpes for 10 years and everytime I tell someone I want to date that I have it they Google it and see all the horrible pictures and then they run. I haven’t had an outbreak in years and even when I do it doesn’t look like that. FML

  2. Dex 11 years ago

    Hopefully, others realize that the herpes pictures you see online are not normally like that in real life. Most likely, those pics are from extreme first outbreaks with other complications.

  3. Naveen 9 years ago

    nice post, yes you are right we cannot cannot conclude by seeing his/her picture, the only way is medical check up to conform the herpes.

  4. renee 9 years ago

    Females have much more severe breakouts than men. They usually are more frequent as well.

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