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Trichomoniasis (cont.)

What Happens

Trichomoniasis (trich) infection is spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner. Many women and most men do not have any symptoms of trich. If symptoms appear, they usually start within 1 week of being infected. But it may take up to a month for symptoms to appear. In most cases, trich should be treated to prevent transmitting this STD to others and to prevent some problems that can happen if you are pregnant. You and your sex partner(s) should be treated for trich at the same time, to avoid reinfecting each other.

In rare cases, it may be possible to get trich by coming in contact with an object (such as a wet towel) that a person who has trich has just used. The trich organism cannot live on objects for long, so trich is not usually spread this way.

Trich during pregnancy raises the risk of premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and premature delivery. Treating the infection does not appear to reduce this risk.2 If you are pregnant and have trich, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of treatment.

Trich may be transmitted from a mother to her baby during a vaginal delivery, but this is rare.

What Increases Your Risk

Those most affected by trichomoniasis (trich) are sexually active women ages 16 to 35. It is thought that 1 out of 5 women in this age group will become infected at some time.4

Behaviors that will increase your risk of getting trich include:

  • Not using condoms when having sex with a new partner or a partner who may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is possible for a partner to transmit the trich parasite without having any symptoms of the infection.
  • Having many sex partners, which increases your risk of being exposed to someone who has trich. Teenagers and young adults are at higher risk for getting trich and other STDs, because their sex partners often have had other recent partners who may carry an STD.

You can get other STDs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and syphilis, at the same time you get a trich infection. If one STD is diagnosed, testing for other STDs should be done so that all infections can be treated at the same time.

Some diseases that can be spread through sexual contact, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, are life-threatening. Studies show that trich infection may increase the risk of transmitting HIV infection.5 Health professionals around the world are concerned about the increased risk of trichomoniasis and HIV.

Women who have trich may also be at risk for other vaginal infections. About 20% of women with trich also have a yeast infection and many also have bacterial vaginosis.6

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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