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Trichomoniasis Fact Sheet

What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection (also known as a sexually transmitted disease or STD) caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis.

How do people get trichomoniasis?

People get trichomoniasis through genital-to-genital contact and vaginal sex with an infected partner. Women can get the infection from male or female partners who have trichomoniasis. Men typically only get trichomoniasis from female partners.

How common is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is very common, especially among sexually active young women. There are an estimated 7.4 million new cases among men and women in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of trichomoniasis are more common in women.

Most (but not all) women with trichomoniasis will experience symptoms that include:

  • Odor or discharge from the vagina
  • Painful urination
  • Discomfort during sex

Symptoms often begin within 5 to 28 days after a woman is infected with trichomoniasis.

Most men with trichomoniasis don't have symptoms, although some may have irritation or pain in the penis, mild or watery discharge, and discomfort after urination or ejaculation.

Reduce your risk

There are several things that can lower the risk of trichomoniasis and other STDs:

  • Use condoms or other latex barrier (such as a dental dam) for each sex act (oral, anal, and vaginal).  A barrier should be put on before any sexual contact takes place.
  • Have sex with only one partner (who only has sex with you)
  • Talk with your healthcare provider to see what STD tests might be recommended for you.

What is the treatment for trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is cured with antibiotics given by mouth in one dose. Sex partners must also be treated, or you can get trichomoniasis again. Do not have sex until all partners have finished the medication.

What are the complications of trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis can cause babies to be born early or with low birth weight. If you think you may be pregnant be sure to tell your health care provider. Women in the first three months of pregnancy should not take medicine for trichomoniasis because it might hurt the fetus.

Research suggests trichomoniasis increases the risk for HIV transmission.


Trichomoniasis can be diagnosed with a test of fluid taken from the vagina or penis. Trichomoniasis is much harder to detect in men than women.

For women, small red sores caused by trichomoniasis on the cervix or inside the vagina can sometimes be found with a pelvic exam.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases