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STI Info: Trichomoniasis

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Symptoms

Most men and women who have a Trich infection do not show any symptoms. Only about 30% of individuals develop symptoms of this STI. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STI and is found in more women than men. However, this does not mean men are immune to this parasitic infection. Symptoms may appear 5 to 28 days after exposure, but some may not develop symptoms until much later. Symptoms may also come and go.  

Symptoms for females:

  • Vaginal discharge with unusual smell-clear, white, yellowish, or greenish
  • Discomfort during intercourse and urination
  • Irritation, itching, burning, redness, or soreness of the female genital area

Symptoms for males:

  • Itching or irritation inside the penis
  • Mild discharge from the penis
  • Burning after urination or ejaculation
  • Discomfort during intercourse

Cases

According to the Center for Disease Control, Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD with an estimated 3.7 million people infectious.

Transmission

Trich is transmitted through sexual contact including penis to vagina intercourse and vagina to vagina contact. The lower genital track (vulva, vagina, or urethra) is the most commonly infected area in women. The most common location of infection for men is inside the penis (urethra). The parasite is not common for infecting areas such as hands, mouth, or anus.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Trichomoniasis cannot be detected on symptoms alone. In order to detect Trich, a physical examination by a health care professional and lab test is required.

Local Testing Available at:

  • Eastern Illinois University Health Service: 
  • Phone: (217) 581-3013
  • Online: MyHealth Portal

Cure

Trich can be treated through a single dose of antibiotics taken by mouth. It is important to have your partner tested and treated as well to avoid re-infection. Those who drink alcohol within 24 hours of taking antibiotics can experience uncomfortable side effects.

Prevention and Risk Reduction

The only 100% effective way to prevent sexually transmitted infections such as Trichomoniasis is to abstain from sexual activity where there is a transmission of bodily fluids such as oral, anal, and vaginal sex. If you choose to be sexually active, being in a monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected significantly reduces your risk of infection. In addition, reducing your number of sexual partners can help to reduce your risk. Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, may reduce the risk of a Trichomoniasis infection. It is possible to spread or be infected by Trichomoniasis even when using condoms. Abstinence is the only way to ensure 100% protection against STIs and pregnancy.