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What is trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis (often known as 'trich') is an infection caused by Trichomonas vaginalis and is common in New Zealand. Trichomoniasis is passed on by having sex, sexual contact or sex play with another person with trichomoniasis. Ιt can also be passed on by sharing sex toys, e.g. vibrators.
What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?
Some people don’t notice any symptoms and don’t know they have the infection. Symptoms may develop after sexual contact with someone else with the infection. It is more common for females to show symptoms rather than males.
Women may see symptoms such as a discharge or fluid leaking from the vagina, a bad smell or odour in the genital area, itchy or sore genitals.
Most men do not have symptoms, however they can still pass trichomoniasis on. Some men may have discharge or fluid leaking from the penis and/or pain when passing urine.
How serious is trichomoniasis?
The genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis can increase a woman's susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the virus. Having trichomoniasis may increase the chance that an HIV-infected woman passes HIV to her sex partner(s). Pregnant women with trichomoniasis may have babies who are born early or with low birth weight (less than five pounds).
How do I get tested for trichomoniasis?
To get tested for trichomoniasis, you will need to see your doctor, nurse or sexual health clinic for a check-up. Women will need a swab test from the vagina. Trichomoniasis is difficult to test for in men, so men are usually just treated if they have had sex with someone with trichomoniasis. Find a local clinic now.
What is the treatment for trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics, which is very effective. A single dose of the right antibiotic usually cures it. The tablets sometimes make you feel a bit sick, but it helps if you take them with food. Don’t drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking the tablets as it will make you feel really sick.
Other important information about trichomoniasis
If you are diagnosed with trichomoniasis, you’ll need to inform anyone you have had sexual contact with in the last three months. It is important that they are tested and treated too. Your health professional can help you deal with this situation, or read our section on How do I tell a partner?
You should use condoms or avoid sex for seven days after your treatment is finished, so you don’t pass trichomoniasis on to anyone else.
If you have a partner you should both be treated and either use condoms or don’t have sex until the treatment is completed.
You should have another sexual health check after three months to check the status of your sexual health.