Caused by: Bacterial Trichomonas vaginalis
Prevalence: Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in young, sexually active women. An estimated 7.4 million new cases occur each year in women and men. Even though women are most affected, men can become infected and pass the infection to women or their partner through sexual contact.
Transmission: 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 in men: Often times men do not know they are affected. Typically the only way a male will know is when their female partner tells them that they are infected and he needs to be checked and/or treated. Symptoms can include:
- Small to mild discharge
- Irritation on the inside of the penis (inflammation of the urethra)
- Irritation or inflammation of the glans or foreskin
- Slight burning after urinating or ejaculation
- Lesions on the penis
Symptoms in women: Symptoms in a woman will typically appear between 5 and 28 days of being exposed to the bacterium.
- Excessive, foamy diffuse, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor
- Difficultly or pain on urination
- Difficultly or painful intercourse
- Vaginal pain, itching and/or irritation
- Possible lower abdominal pain (not likely but can be a rare symptom)
Diagnosis: A doctor 'must' do a physical exam. This infection is impossible to properly diagnose without a proper laboratory test. A sample of vaginal or urethral fluid has to be obtained and viewed under a microscope in order to identify the type of bacterium. In this case it would be Trichomonas vaginalis.
Treatment: The disease can be cured with antibacterial medication. Sex partners should also be treated.
Impact on 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.
Impact on Fetus or Newborn: Trichomoniasis in pregnant women may cause premature rupture of the membranes and preterm delivery.
Preventive Measures: 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.
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