Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite. The parasite is spread most often through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It is one of the most common STIs in the United States and affects more women than men. It is easily treated with antibiotics, but many women do not have symptoms. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can raise your risk of getting HIV.
Q: How do you get trichomoniasis?
A: Trichomoniasis is spread through:
- Vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Trichomoniasis can be spread even if there are no symptoms. This means you can get trichomoniasis from someone who has no signs or symptoms.
- Genital touching. A man does not need to ejaculate for trichomoniasis to spread. Trichomoniasis can also be passed between women who have sex with women.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis?
A: Most infected women have no signs or symptoms. If you do get signs or symptoms, they might appear 1 to 28 days after exposure and can include:
- Irritation and itching in the genital area
- Thin or frothy discharge (clear, white, yellowish, or greenish) with an unusual foul odor
- Discomfort during sex and when urinating
- Lower abdominal pain (this is rare)
If you think you may have trichomoniasis, you and your sex partner(s) need to see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
Q: What should I do if I have trichomoniasis?
A: Trichomoniasis is easy to treat. But you need to be tested and treated as soon as possible.
If you have trichomoniasis:
- See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible. Antibiotics will treat trichomoniasis.
- Take all of your medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antibiotics.
- Tell your sex partner(s) so they can be tested and treated.
- Avoid sexual contact until you and your partner(s) have been treated and cured. Even after you finish your antibiotics, you can get trichomoniasis again if you have sex with someone who has trichomoniasis.
- See your doctor or nurse again if you have symptoms that don’t go away within a few days after nishing the antibiotics.