What is Trichomonas vaginalis?
Trichomonas Vaginalis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a tiny parasite. For women it affects the vagina and the urethra (tube where urine comes out) and in men it is found in the urethra.
The infection is passed from person to person through unprotected sexual contact and can also be spread through sharing sex toys.
Signs and symptoms
You may not experience any signs or symptoms at all. However, the following signs and symptoms usually show up within a month of coming into contact with an infected person:
Women can experience soreness, itching and inflammation around the vagina, pain in passing urine and a change in vaginal discharge.
Men may have a discharge from the penis and pain/burning whilst urinating.
How do I test for Trichomonas Vaginalis?
You will only be certain if you have Trichomonas Vaginalis if you take a test. A test is usually offered if you have any of the above signs and symptoms, a sexual partner who is known to have Trichomonas Vaginalis, had unprotected sex with a new partner, if you have another sexually transmitted infection.
For women, a doctor or nurse may collect a cell sample from the vagina during an internal examination using a swab.
For men, a doctor or nurse may collect a cell sample from the entrance to the urethra using a swab.
Where can I get tested?
You can seek a test at a genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic and some general practices.
All tests are free through NHS services, although you may have to pay a prescription charge for treatment if you attend a General Practice.
For men and women, Trichomonas Vaginalis is treated quickly and easily with a course of antibiotics. It is important that current or recent sexual partner(s) are also treated.
What is I don’t get treated?
Trichomonas Vaginalis is unlikely to go away if untreated and can make it easier for you to become infected with other STI’s including HIV.
You should avoid having unprotected sex before any treatment is completed as you may become re-infected.
If you delay accessing treatment you risk passing the infection onto others.
You should avoid having sexual intercourse including vaginal, anal and oral sex until you and your partner(s) have completed the course of treatment. This is to avoid re-infection or passing the infection onto someone else.
If it is not possible to avoid sex you should always use a condom for vaginal or anal sex. If you have oral sex, cover the penis with a condom or the female genitals with a polyurethane square (a dam). These may reduce the infection but will not eliminate it.
Avoid sharing sex toys, if you do use them, cover them with a condom.
Find further information at:
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/trichomonas_vaginalis/pages/introduction.aspx
Alcohol may feel like it is helping you to unwind but it is in fact a depressant.