Commonly called “trich” (pronounced like “trick”), trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.7 million people in this country alone have it. It is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis.
Signs and Symptoms
Both men and women can become infected with this STD, although it typically affects more women than men. Common symptoms include:
- Pain or itching near the genitals
- Painful or uncomfortable urination
- Discharge from either the vagina or penis
Many people who develop trich will NOT show any symptoms. The CDC reports that almost a third of infected individuals do not notice symptoms. This makes testing for this STD vital, as the only way to know for sure whether you not you have it is through an accurate test; checking for symptoms alone will not be an accurate indicator of sexual health.
Who Is at Risk for Developing Trich?
Anyone who has had unprotected sexual contact, or used a protective barrier incorrectly, could be at risk for contracting trich.
Some of the best methods for preventing an STD are to get regularly tested, talk honestly to any and all sexual partners about their sexual history and health, and use protection correctly. Staying with one partner in a mutually monogamous relationship, where both partners have tested negative for trich, is also another method that can help prevent contracting this STD.
Note that many birth control methods, such as the pill, do NOT protect against STDs and HIV (the infection that causes AIDS).
Testing for Trich
Since trich, like many STDs, can develop without presenting symptoms, it is important to get tested. There are plenty of tests you can take to check for trich. A common one is to have samples collected via urethral or vaginal discharge, although testing via urine samples can occur, too. Pap smears can also show whether someone has this STD.
Fortunately, trich is an easily treatable STD.