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Difference Between Chlamydia and Herpes

What is Chlamydia and Herpes?

Both the diseases are sexually transmitted infections. However, Chlamydia is caused by bacteria known as Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes is caused by a virus known as herpes simplex virus.



Chlamydia is found in the vaginal fluids and the infected semen. It is a STI (sexually transmitted infection) that transfers from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby, through sex without a protection (condom) or by sharing sex toys with a partner who is infected with chlamydia (even if no symptoms are there). 



A common STD (sexually transmitted disease or infection) marked by genital pain and sores. It is self-diagnosable and genital herpes spreads by sexual contact and in case the condition is chronic, it may last for very long years or even be lifelong. Treatment usually helps, but this medical condition can not be cured.


Difference between Chlamydia and Herpes



Chlamydia is a common, sexually transmitted infection that may not show any symptoms. It is present in infected semen and vaginal fluids


Herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) marked by sores and genital pain. It is spread through skin contact during anal, vaginal or oral sex.



  • Burning sensation while peeing 
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Tender or swollen testicles
  • Bleeding and spotting between monthly periods
  • Strong smell in the vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal (yellowish) vaginal discharge in women
  • Lower belly pain.
  • Pus or a watery/milky discharge from the penis in men


  • Red, cracked, or raw areas around the genitals without tingling, itching, or pain
  • Irritation and Itching around the anal region or the genitals
  • Pain in the back
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches
  • Tiny blisters that cause painful sores after breaking open. These usually can be seen on rectal areas, thighs, buttocks and on or around the genitals (penis or vagina). Rarely, some blisters can occur inside the urethra — the tube urine travels through on its way out of your body.
  • Pain and difficulty while peeing over the sores – a typical problem especially in women.



Chlamydia is caused by unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex with a person. Genital contact also passes on chlamydia. As the infection shows no symptoms in at least seventy percent of the carriers, individuals carrying the infection could pass it on to their sexual partners without any knowledge of them being infected.

The infection is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis (C. trachomatis).


The herpes simplex virus, also termed as HSV, is an infection that is a cause of herpes. The infection affects various parts of the body, like the genitals or mouth. There are 2 types of the HSV.

  • HSV-1- This virus causes oral herpes through sores on the skin, oral secretions, kissing, sharing lip balm, sharing toothbrushes or eating from the same utensils and symptoms are blisters around the face and mouth and cold sores.
  • HSV-2 – This virus causes genital herpes a person gets infected with herpes type 2 infection through sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection.



Diagnosis and screening of chlamydia is relatively simple. Some tests include:

  • A urine test – Urine sample is tested in the lab to detect presence of this STI.
  • A swab – In case of females, the doctor takes a swab of the cervix discharge for antigen testing or culture testing. This is done by means of routine Pap test. Some females prefer to swab their vaginas themselves, which has been confirmed to be as diagnostic as doctor-obtained swabs.

In case of men, the doctor puts a slim swab into the end of the penis in order to obtain sample from the urethra to check this infection.


  • Viral culture test – A tissue from a sore is taken for examination in the laboratory.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test – A tissue from a sore or spinal fluid or blood sample is taken and DNA is copied. The DNA is tested to determine the infection by HSV.
  • Blood test – Blood sample is tested to determine the presence of HSV antibodies for detecting a past herpes infection.



Oral antibiotics, usually azithromycin (Zithromax) or doxycycline. Women with severe infection may need intravenous antibiotics (medicine given through a vein), hospitalization, and pain medicine.

Patients’ need to be re-tested after 3 months once after taking antibiotics, to ensure the infection is cured. Do not have sexual intercourse until you and your partner both are free from this infectious disease.


Treatment may include antiviral medications such as valaciclovir or Acyclovir. For pain and easing the herpes symptoms - aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, can be helpful. Doctors even recommend soaking the affected area in warm water.


Summary of Chlamydia vs. Herpes

The points of difference between Chlamydia and Herpes have been summarized below:


Dr. Amita Fotedar -Dr

Research Consultant: PhD in Environmental Sciences at History of working in Elite Research Institutes like United Nations Development Program
Dr Amita Fotedar is an experienced Research Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in elite Research Institutes like United Nations Development Programme, Istanbul, Turkey, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India and International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Srilanka.
Skilled in Biological Sciences, Environmental Health, Natural Resources, Water Resource Management, and Renewable Energy, she has a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Jammu, India. Apart from her PhD, she has a Post Graduate Diploma in International Studies from International Pacific University, New Zealand Campus, and has also been rewarded a certification in Climate Studies from Harvard University (EdX). She is a recipient of Academic Excellence Award from International Pacific University, New Zealand campus. At present she is pursuing MicroMasters in Sustainable Energy from The University of Queensland, Australia.
She is a Co- founder and Research Advisor for a New Zealand based Sustainability and Environmental Services Entity and is also a member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association at SDG Academy, offering mentorship (a collaborative network of academic and research institutions under the auspices of UN Secretary-General). She has around 35 national and international publications to her credit.
Dr. Amita Fotedar -Dr

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References :

[0]Malhotra, M., Sood, S., Mukherjee, A., Muralidhar, S., & Bala, M. (2013). Genital Chlamydia trachomatis: an update. The Indian journal of medical research, 138(3), 303.

[1]Sauerbrei, A. (2016). Herpes genitalis: diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde, 76(12), 1310-1317.

[2]Whitley, R. J., & Roizman, B. (2001). Herpes simplex virus infections. The lancet, 357(9267), 1513-1518.

[3]Witkin, S. S., Minis, E., Athanasiou, A., Leizer, J., & Linhares, I. M. (2017). Chlamydia trachomatis: the persistent pathogen. Clin. Vaccine Immunol., 24(10), e00203-17.

[4]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlamydia_trachomatis#/media/File:Chlamydae_Life_Cycle.svg

[5]Image credit: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Herpes_labialis_-_opryszczka_wargowa.jpg

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