Trichomoniasis

WHAT IS IT?

Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection. It is caused by a single-celled organism that can be found in the urethra, bladder, vagina, cervix, or under the foreskin.

HOW WOULD I GET IT?

Trichomoniasis is spread through unprotected sexual activity, including mutual masturbation and sharing sex toys. Trich can also live on wet/moist objects for a few hours, so it is possible (but very rare) that someone could become infected through the use of an infected towel or other object.

HOW WOULD I KNOW I HAD IT?

Symptoms for women include an off-white or yellowish-green frothy vaginal discharge; a sore or itchy vagina; and/or pain during intercourse or urination. About 50% of women who are infected with trichomoniasis will not show any symptoms (sexualityandu.ca, 2007).

Men typically do not have symptoms. However, if they did develop symptoms, they may include irritation or redness at the urethral opening and/or a burning sensation during urination or ejaculation.

In Nova Scotia, women can get a swab test (similar to a Pap test) to confirm whether or not they have trichomoniasis. However, the lab does not currently process specimens from men because this infection is rare in males. For more information about this test, please visit the STI Testing section of our website.

CAN IT BE TREATED AND CURED?

Yes. Trichomoniasis can be treated through antibiotics. The individual who is infected, as well as their sexual partner(s), should be treated.

IF IT ISN’T TREATED, CAN IT LEAD TO MORE SERIOUS PROBLEMS?

Yes. Trichomoniasis infections can increase the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV. In pregnancy, trichomoniasis infection may increase the risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight.