What is it?
Trichomoniasis (often called “trich” – pronounced like “trick”) is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. It infects the vagina in women, or the urethra in men.
Who has it?
In the United States, an estimated 3.7 million people have the infection, but only about 30% develop any symptoms of trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in young, sexually active women.
How do you get it?
Trichomoniasis is spread through body fluids during unprotected vaginal, or anal sex.
How do you know you have it?
Many people who have trichomoniasis don’t know it because they don’t have symptoms. Some women will have a yellow or green discharge from their vagina, pain or burning when they pee, or pain or bleeding during sex.
How do you test for it?
For women, your doctor will give you a painless physical exam and take a swab test. Tests for men are not widely used.
Can you get rid of it?
Yes – a clinician will prescribe you antibiotic pills. To keep from infecting your partners, you should avoid sex until you have taken all the antibiotics and your partner has been tested and treated if necessary.
How can you protect yourself from getting trichomoniasis?
The only method that is 100% effective in preventing STDs is abstinence, but if you’re sexually active, the best way to avoid trichomoniasis is by being mutually monogamous with someone who also does not have trichomoniasis. Since it’s passed in body fluids, condoms are good at preventing passing trichomoniasis to a partner.
What’s the worst that could happen?
You could pass it on to your partners, even if you don’t have symptoms when you have sex. Trichomoniasis also increases your likelihood of getting HIV and other STDs. Pregnant women who have trichomoniasis are at risk of having their babies too early.