WHAT IS IT?
Trichomoniasis (sometimes called “Trich”) is a parasitic infection. It is caused by a single-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis that can be found in the urethra, bladder, vagina, cervix, or under the foreskin. Although symptoms of the disease vary, most people who have the parasite cannot tell they are infected.
HOW WOULD I GET IT?
Trichomoniasis is spread through unprotected sexual activity, including mutual masturbation and sharing sex toys. In people with vaginas, the most commonly infected part of the body is the lower genital tract (vulva, vagina, cervix, or urethra), and in people with penises, the most commonly infected body part is the inside of the penis (urethra).
During sex, the parasite is usually transmitted from a penis to a vagina, or from a vagina to a penis, but it can also be passed from a vagina to another vagina. 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 onto others.
Trichomoniasis 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?
About 70% of infected people do not have any signs or symptoms. Some people with symptoms get them within 5 to 28 days after being infected, but others do not develop symptoms until much later.
Symptoms can come and go. Symptoms for people with vaginas 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 people with vaginas will not show any symptoms (sexualityandu.ca, 2007).
People with penises 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, people with vaginas can get a swab test to confirm whether or not they have trichomoniasis. However, the lab does not currently process specimens from people with penises because the infection is rare.
CAN IT BE TREATED AND CURED?
Yes. Trichomoniasis can be treated through antibiotics. The individual who is infected, as well as their sexual partners 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.
HOW TO BOOK AND PREPARE YOURSELF FOR AN APPOINTMENT?
Booking an appointment with us is easy! Give us a call at 902.455.9656 ext. 0. You will be speaking with either a volunteer or a medical administrator. We cannot book appointments over email or Facebook. You cannot book an appointment for someone else, even if they are your partner or child. We will need to speak with them directly. To book, we will need your full name, birth date, phone number, and a very brief reason for your visit. That’s it! The person on the phone will outline anything you need to know to prepare for your appointment. Our average wait time for an appointment is 4-6 weeks from the day you call.
Make sure you bring your valid provincial health card with you to your appointment. Clients without health cards are subject to doctors and lab fees.
Are you a youth? You do not need parental consent for any of our appointments.
Don’t have access to or lost your health card? You are entitled to your health card information! Call MSI toll-free at 1-800-563-8880 (in Nova Scotia) or at 902-496-7008 from Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. We require the number and the expiry date. Another tip: take a picture of your card! You will never lose it again!
STI Tests: Oral, vaginal, and anal STI tests have no preparation.