Straight to the Facts: Trich

  • About 70% of people with Trich have no symptoms

  • Caused by intimate contact with an infected person

  • Men may notice:

    • Itching/irritation inside the penis

    • Discharge

    • Burning after urination/ejaculation

  • Women may notice:

    • Discomfort with urination

    • Itching, burning or redness around the genitals

    • Change in vaginal discharge

  • Can be treated with a single dose of a prescription antibiotic

Trichomonas Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan vaginalis. It is the most common curable STI in the US with an estimated 3.7 million people who have it. About 70% of people with the infection do not have symptoms and are infectious. So, even if you do not know you have it, you can still pass it on to your partner if you have unprotected sex. The only way to know if you have Trich is to get tested!


Women are more likely to be infected than men and older women are more likely to be infected than younger women, Trichomoniasis can affect anyone who is sexually active and you should be tested regularly to make sure you are not passing any STIs on to your partner.

How Do I know I have it?


About 70% of infected people do not have any signs or symptoms. If symptoms occur, they range from mild irritation to severe inflammation. Symptoms usually occur within 5 to 28 days after being infected although symptoms can develop much later. Symptoms also can come and go. In women, symptoms include itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals, pain with urination, and a thin discharge with an unusual smell that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish. Symptoms in men can include discharge from the penis, burning after urination or ejaculation,  and itching or irritation inside the penis.


How can I get it?


Trichomoniasis is contracted during sexual contact with an infected person. In women, the most commonly infected part of the body is the lower genital tract including the vulva, vagina, or urethra.  In men, the most commonly infected body part is the inside of the penis or urethra. It is not common for the parasite to infect other body parts, like the hands, mouth, or anus. Infected people without symptoms can still pass the infection on to others.

How can I get treated?

Trichomoniasis can be cured with a single dose of prescription antibiotic medication, either metronidazole or tinidazole. It is generally safe for pregnant women to take this medication.  Also, some people who drink alcohol within 24 hours after taking this antibiotic can have uncomfortable side effects. People who have been treated for trichomoniasis can get it again. About 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after treatment. To avoid getting reinfected, make sure that all of your sex partners get treated too.  Wait to have sex again until all of your symptoms go away (about a week). Get checked again if your symptoms come back.

What happens if I do not get treated?


Getting trichomoniasis can make it easier to get HIV. Usually, if you are being tested for trichomoniasis your doctor will test for other STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea since these infections occur together.


What if I am pregnant?


If you are pregnant and have symptoms of trichomoniasis, you should get treated. Women who have active trichomoniasis infections during pregnancy are more likely to have a premature delivery and to have babies born with low birth-weight. If you do not have symptoms, the CDC does not recommend testing to screen for trichomoniasis.

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