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Trichomoniasis Vaginalis

What is Trichomoniasis vaginalis?

Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is caused by a tiny single celled parasite. In women, the infection is found in the vagina.

How do I get TV?

TV is passed from person to person by having unprotected sexual intercourse usually from the penis to vagina and from vagina to penis. It can also be spread by sharing sex-toys that are not washed after use or used without a condom covering them.

It is possible that women who have sex with women can get TV through sharing vaginal toys but it is not known if close contact between two women's vaginas rubbing together will allow infection to spread between them. TV is not shared from kissing, oral or anal sex.

How will I know if I have TV?

Trichomoniasis is believed to be very common, but many infected men and women will not have any symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms of trichomoniasis than men.

Women notice that they have a change in their vaginal discharge. It can become more profuse and frothy with an unpleasant smell. The vulva can also appear red, causing discomfort or pain during sex. Sometimes women notice that passing urine can be painful too. A large proportion of women with TV have no symptoms at all.

Men sometimes get symptoms including pain on passing urine or they sometimes get a small amount of discharge from the end of the penis.

The only way to find out if you TV is to have a test.

What is the treatment for TV?

The treatment is a course of antibiotics.

How do I protect myself from getting TV again?

Make sure that both you and your partner are treated. Using condoms for vaginal sex will protect you from TV.  If you are sharing vaginal sex toys then wash them thoroughly and use a condom to cover them when they are being inserted into the vagina.