^ McGregor, James A.; French, Janice I.; Parker, Ruth; Draper, Deborah; Patterson, Elisa; Jones, Ward; Thorsgard, Kyja; McFee, John (1995). "Prevention of premature birth by screening and treatment for common genital tract infections: Results of a prospective controlled evaluation". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 173 (1): 157–167. doi:10.1016/0002-9378(95)90184-1. PMID 7631673.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is most often spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also spread through genital touching. People who are infected may spread the disease even when symptoms are not present. Diagnosis is by finding the parasite in the vaginal fluid using a microscope, culturing the vagina or urine, or testing for the parasite's DNA. If present other STIs should be tested for.
The parasite passes from an infected person to an uninfected person during sex. In women, the most commonly infected part of the body is the lower genital tract (vulva, vagina, cervix, or urethra). In men, the most commonly infected body part is the inside of the penis (urethra). During sex, the parasite usually spreads from a penis to a vagina, or from a vagina to a penis. It can also spread from a vagina to another vagina. It is not common for the parasite to infect other body parts, like the hands, mouth, or anus. It is unclear why some people with the infection get symptoms while others do not. It probably depends on factors like a person’s age and overall health. Infected people without symptoms can still pass the infection on to others.
Evidence from a randomized controlled trials for screening pregnant women who do not have symptoms for infection with trichomoniasis and treating women who test positive for the infection have not consistently shown a reduced risk of preterm birth. Further studies are needed to verify this result and determine the best method of screening. In the US, screening of pregnant women without any symptoms is only recommended in those with HIV as trichomonas infection is associated with increased risk of transmitting HIV to the fetus.
There were about 58 million cases of trichomoniasis in 2013. It is more common in women (2.7%) than males (1.4%). It is the most common non-viral STI in the U.S., with an estimated 3.7 million prevalent cases and 1.1 million new cases per year. It is estimated that 3% of the general U.S. population is infected, and 7.5-32% of moderate-to-high risk (including incarcerated) populations.
^ Jump up to: a b Ginocchio CC, Chapin K, Smith JS, Aslanzadeh J, Snook J, Hill CS, Gaydos CA (August 2012). "Prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis and coinfection with Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the United States as determined by the Aptima Trichomonas vaginalis nucleic acid amplification assay". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 50 (8): 2601–8. doi:10.1128/JCM.00748-12. PMC 3421522. PMID 22622447.
The first is known as saline microscopy. This is the most commonly used method and requires an endocervical, vaginal, or penile swab specimen for examination under a microscope. The presence of one or multiple trichomonads constitutes a positive result. This method is cheap but has a low sensitivity (60-70%) often due to an inadequate sample, resulting in false negatives.
People who have been treated for trichomoniasis can get it again. About 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after receiving treatment. To avoid getting reinfected, all sex partners should get treated with antibiotics at the same time. Wait to have sex again until everyone has been treated and any symptoms go away (usually about a week). Get checked at 3 months to make sure you have not been infected again, or sooner if your symptoms come back before then.
Most people infected with Trichomonas vaginalis do not have any symptoms and can be undetected for years. Symptoms experienced include pain, burning or itching in the penis, urethra (urethritis), or vagina (vaginitis). Discomfort for both sexes may increase during intercourse and urination. For women there may also be a yellow-green, itchy, frothy, foul-smelling ("fishy" smell) vaginal discharge. In rare cases, lower abdominal pain can occur. Symptoms usually appear within 5 to 28 days of exposure. Sometimes trichomoniasis can be confused with chlamydia because the symptoms are similar.