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STD Information Center > STD Advice > Syphilis and Chlamydia

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Syphilis and Chlamydia Comparison


I was informed that Chlamydia and Syphilis are a similar disease. According to my research, this information does not connect the two of them together. Can you list the similarities and differences?
~ Commonalities


Dear Commonalities,

It's easy for some people to confuse one STD for another because some STDs share similar symptoms even though the treatment and disease itself is different. The CDC has noted that Syphilis is often called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases. However, there are not a lot of similarities specifically between Syphilis and Chlamydia.

Your question only asks for a comparison of Syphilis symptoms to that of Chlamydia. Our chart below lists each disease followed by symptoms that match (by listing the symptom under both) and those that don't (by one having the symptom and the other having a blank position. Keep in mind that many people with Chlamydia have no symptoms and therefore don't know they are infected. Also, Syphilis often may not initially show any symptoms. This is why it is vital to have an STD test done. In the chart below (w) = women and (m) = men. Remember that having an STD doesn't mean you'll display all symptoms. Just one or two (or even no symptoms) can still indicate you have an STD.

Chlamydia Syphilis
Many Have No Symptoms Many Have No Symptoms
abnormal vaginal discharge (w)  
  chancre (single sore)
"burning" when urinating (w)  
  skin rash
lower abdominal pain (w)  
  mucous membrane lesions
pain during intercourse (w)  
bleeding between periods (w)  
"burning" when urinating (m)  
discharge from penis (m)  
itching on top of penis (m)  
burning on top of penis (m)  
testicle pain (m - rare)  
  late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. This damage may be serious enough to cause death.
   
STD Caused By STD Caused By
  the bacterium Treponema pallidum
the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis  
   
How Common? How Common?
3 million infections a year  
  varies - usually around 30,000 + new infections

Syphilis and Syphilis symptoms develop in stages. Read more about it here.


 


If you have a question for the STD Advice column, simply put your question in the anonymous form below and click Submit. Once you click Submit, your question will be anonymously emailed to us. While we can't answer or publish all questions, we do try to questions within a one week period of submission. Check back to see if yours is answered.



Only a physician can properly diagnose whether or not you have an STD. Thus it is important that you get an STD test done if you have a concern. None of the advice given in this column is a substitute for physician advice.

If you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease, you should see a physician immediately to be properly diagnosed and treated. You should not try to diagnose or treat symptoms on your own.

Getting Help for an STD >


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