Teen STI Card—Trichomoniasis

Every year, nearly 10 million people under the age of 25 get a new STI (sexually transmitted infection).1 One of these infections is trichomoniasis. If you’ve had sex, you could have an STI. Some STIs cause symptoms. Others don’t. You could have one and not know it. Some STIs make you sick today and others cause problems later in life. These include serious problems like cancer or infertility. Some can even kill you.

What is trichomoniasis and how do you get it?

Trichomoniasis is a very common STI. It is caused by a parasite. You get it from having sex with an infected person. Babies can get it from their mothers during childbirth. Although most infected people have no obvious symptoms, they can still pass on trichomoniasis. 

What happens if I’m infected?

If you are like most people, you will have no symptoms at all. On the other hand, you could have symptoms such as itching or a discharge from the penis or vagina. Other symptoms include a burning sensation while urinating and pain during sex. If you are pregnant, you could have a premature baby.2 Trichomoniasis also increases your chance of getting HIV.3,4 

How do you treat trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics. Both you and your partner must be treated.

Am I safe if I always use a condom?

If you always use condoms for vaginal sex, you may reduce your chance of getting trichomoniasis.5 How much your chance is reduced is not known.6 

What can I do to avoid being infected with trichomoniasis?

Avoid sexual activity if you are single. Be faithful to one uninfected partner for the rest of your life. Already had sex? See a doctor and get checked.

References:

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sexually Tramsmitted Diseases: Adolescents and Young Adults” https://www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-YoungAdults.htm

2  Krieger JN, Alderete JF. Trichomonas vaginalis and trichomoniasis. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:587-604.

3  Sorvillo F, Smith L, Krendt P, Ash L, et al. Trichomonas vaginalis, HIV, and African-Americans. Emerg Infect Dis. 2001;7(6):927-932.

4  Schwebke JR Update of trichomoniasis. Sex Transm Infect. 2002;78(5):378-379.

5  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trichomonas- A CDC Fact Sheet. Available online at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm. Accessed November 30, 2006.

6  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; 2001. Available from: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/ stds/condomreport.pdf. Accessed November 30, 2006.