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Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts

Type if Infection: Trichomoniasis is caused by the bacteria Trichomonas vaginalis.

Prevalence of Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in the United States and worldwide. An estimated 5 million new cases occur each year in women and men.

Modes of Transmission of Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is spread through sexual contact. Trichomania can also survive on infected objects such as washcloths, and could possibly be transmitted by sharing those objects.

Symptoms of Trichomoniasis: Excessive, foamy diffuse, yellow-green vaginal discharge is common in women. Difficultly or pain on urination and/or intercourse is common. There may be vaginal pain and itching or there may be no symptoms at all. Men may experience inflammation of the urethra, glans, or foreskin, and/or lesions on the penis, but most infected men have no symptoms.

Treatment of Trichomoniasis: The disease can be cured with antibacterial medication. Sex partners should also be treated.

Possible Consequences of Trichomoniasis for the Infected Person: The genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis might also increase a woman's risk of acquiring HIV infection if she is exposed to HIV. Trichomoniasis in a woman who is also infected with HIV can increase the chances of transmitting HIV infection to a sex partner.

Possible Consequences of Trichomoniasis for the Fetus and Newborn: Trichomoniasis in pregnant women may cause low birthweight, premature rupture of the membranes, and preterm delivery.

Prevention of Trichomoniasis: Abstaining from vaginal sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of trichomoniasis. Latex condoms and other similar barrier devices can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting the disease during sex. Avoid sharing towels and washcloths with others to prevent non-sexual transmission of the disease.

Source: W Cates, "Reproductive Tract Infections," In Hatcher et al, Contraceptive Technology, Ardent Media, 2005.
Photo Source: Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Image Library (PHIL), phil.cdc.gov/phil.