Trichomoniasis STD is different from most other forms of sexually transmitted diseases in that it is caused by a parasitic infection. The parasite, called Trichomonas vaginalis, is a small, one-celled protozoan and therefore cannot be seen by the naked eye. Both men and women can carry and transmit trichomoniasis. It can be treated with antibiotics.
How It Is Transmitted
Trichomoniasis can be passed on through any sexual activity, including oral, anal, and vaginal sex. In women, it can affect the vulva, vagina, cervix, and urethra. In men, it only affects the urethra. Only about 30 percent of people infected with trichomoniasis have symptoms.
Who It Affects
Trichomoniasis impacts women more than men, though both can carry it and experience symptoms. It is more common in younger people as well as those who have multiple partners or frequently engage in unprotected sex. However, anyone who is sexually active can contract and spread it.
When trichomoniasis STD presents with symptoms, they can begin within five days of contracting the disease. Symptoms can include:
- Penile itching
- Burning when urinating
- Burning when ejaculating
- Genital discharge with or without odor
- Genital redness, burning, itching, or soreness
Beyond the discomfort caused by the disease, its greatest complication is an increased risk of contracting HIV. Anyone with trichomoniasis should seek treatment.
Since trichomoniasis does not show symptoms in most people, anyone who is sexually active should be tested for the disease once a year.