TRICHOMONIASIS

WHAT IS TRICHOMONIASIS?

  • It is commonly known as “Trich” (pronounced “trick”);
  • It is one of the most common STDs;
  • It is caused by a microscopic (you can’t see it) parasite.

Both men and women can have Trich, but it is more often noticed in women because women are more likely to have symptoms.

HOW IS TRICHOMONIASIS SPREAD?

The infection passes by sexual contact, including vaginal sex between a man and a woman, between two women, but not usually between two men. It can also spread by sharing contaminated items (like sex toys).  In very rare cases, Trich may spread from nonsexual contact.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF TRICHOMONIASIS?

Trich doesn’t always cause symptoms for women or men. However, when women have symptoms, they usually appear 5-28 days after exposure and may include a yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong smell, itching or irritation of the genital area, and pain or discomfort during sex or urination. In some cases, women can also have lower stomach pain.

Most men don’t have symptoms, but when they do, they may have discharge from their penis or a burning sensation after urination or ejaculation. Men may experience symptoms that disappear within a few weeks, but the infection is still there and can be passed to others.

HOW DO YOU GET TESTED FOR TRICHOMONIASIS?

Your healthcare provider will do an exam and swab the penis or vagina for lab testing.

CAN TRICHOMONIASIS BE TREATED?

Trich is curable with medicine prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition to getting treatment for yourself, current sexual partners should also be treated at the same time (even if they aren’t having symptoms). Also, avoid any sexual contact until you and your partner(s) finish taking the medicine for Trich or you might get it again.


WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T GET TREATMENT?

Trich doesn’t cause bad health problems, but it can be uncomfortable and more importantly, it can also increase the risk of getting other STDs.  For pregnant women, Trich can cause the baby to be born early or be born at a low birth weight. In some rare cases, the baby may be born with a respiratory (lung) or genital infection.

WHAT IF YOU’RE DIAGNOSED WITH TRICHOMONIASIS?

If a healthcare provider finds out you have Trich, they will prescribe medicine and you will need to tell your current partner(s) so that they can be treated. Since so many people do not have symptoms, you and your partner(s) can’t rely on symptoms to decide if you should get treatment.

You and your partner(s) will also need to avoid all sexual activity until everyone is 1) done with medication and 2) no longer having symptoms(if present).  If you need help telling your partner about the infection, look at the communications page for helpful ways to handle the discussion.

IS TRICHOMONIASIS PREVENTABLE?

The most effective way to avoid getting Trich is not to have any kind of sexual activity that can pass sexual fluids between two people.  If you choose to have sex, there are several things you can do to lower your chance of getting or passing the infection:

  • Use latex condoms correctly every time you have sex (including oral, vaginal and anal). Click here for a demonstration on correct condom use.
  • Only have sexual contact with someone that is only having sex with you, and who has been tested to make sure they are disease free.
  • At any sign of symptoms, avoid sexual contact and get medical care.
  • If you or your partner is diagnosed with Trich, avoid sexual contact until you and your partner(s) are treated and everyone is free of symptoms.


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