Trichomonas vaginalis (also called trichomoniasis or T.V.) is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by a tiny parasite.
TV is almost always passed from one person to another during sex. In women, the infection can live inside the cells of the vagina and in the urethra. In men, it can be found in the urethra.
The infection can spread if you have vaginal sex or share sex toys. It's possible for a pregnant woman to pass the infection to her baby at birth.
Up to half of infected women and men will have no symptoms. Signs and symptoms can show up three to 21 days after you are infected with TV.
Women may notice:
Men may notice:
If you think you may have TV you can go to your nearest GUM clinic. You can also see your local GP.
By law, a sexual health clinic cannot tell anyone about your visit to the GUM; these rules do not apply to your GP who can tell other people about your appointment.
You can have a test as soon as you think you have been in contact with TV.
Testing will involve using a swab (like a cotton bud) to take a sample of cells from the vagina, the genital area and the urethra. Sometimes TV will be found during a routine cervical screening test.
Treatment is simple and involves taking antibiotic tablets, either as a single dose or a longer course (up to a week).
If you are you pregnant, or think you might be, or if you are breastfeeding you should mention this to your doctor as this may affect the type of antibiotic you are given.
To avoid reinfection, any sexual partners should be treated too.
For most people, TV won't go away without treatment, so the symptoms will remain.
No-one is immune to TV, if you’ve had it once you can get it again.
Using a condom for penetrative sex or sharing sex toys can help protect against getting and passing on TV, or other sexually transmitted infections. Dental dams can also be used during oral sex and rimming for safer sex. You can order free safer sex packs from Trade here.