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Trichomoniasis is a Sexually Transmitted Disease that is caused by infection with a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.
Epidemiology: Infection is more common in women than in men, and older women are more likely than younger women to have been infected.
Transmission: The parasite is passed 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, or urethra), and in men, the most commonly infected body part is the inside of the penis (urethra). It is not common for the parasite to infect other body parts, like the hands, mouth, or anus.
Symptoms: 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. Symptoms can come and go. Men with trichomoniasis may feel itching or irritation inside the penis, burning after urination or ejaculation, or some discharge from the penis. Women with trichomoniasis may notice itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals, discomfort with urination, or a thin discharge with an unusual smell that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish. Without treatment, the infection can last for months or even years.
Complications: Trichomoniasis can increase the risk of getting or spreading other sexually transmitted infections. For example,
trichomoniasis can cause genital inflammation that makes it easier to get infected with the HIV virus, or to pass the HIV virus
on to a sex partner.
Trichomoniasis in Pregnancy: Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are more likely to have their babies too early (preterm delivery). Also, babies born to infected mothers are more likely to have an officially low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds).
Treatment: Single dose of prescription antibiotic medication (either metronidazole or tinidazole), pills which can be taken by mouth. It is okay for pregnant women to take this medication. People who have been treated for trichomoniasis can get it again. About 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after treatment. To avoid getting reinfected, make sure that all sex partners get treated too.