Trichomoniasis, also called ‘trike’, is an STI caused by a tiny parasite. Anyone can get trichomoniasis. It can infect the vagina, cervix or the urethra (the tube you pee through) of the penis or vulva.
Trichomoniasis can be spread through infected semen and vaginal fluids during:
- Vaginal sex
- Vagina to vagina contact
- The sharing of sex toys
The parasite can also live for a few hours on damp towels but not on other objects like toilet seats.
Very often, trichomoniasis has no symptoms and where there are symptoms they are mild. When they do occur, symptoms can include:
- A frothy yellow/green vaginal discharge, which can sometimes have an unpleasant smell
- Itching or burning in the vagina
- Pain during sex in the pelvic area where the uterus and fallopian tubes sit
- Discharge from the tip of the penis
- Pain when peeing
Doctors will only test for trichomoniasis if you have symptoms. If you do have symptoms, contact your Family Planning clinic, local doctor, or sexual health clinic to discuss testing.
Trichomoniasis is easily treated with oral antibiotics. Often it’s just one pill. It is important to avoid sex for a week after treatment and current partners will need to get treated at the same time.
Condoms are the best way to protect yourself and your partners from trichomoniasis, and other STIs. You can use condoms when sharing sex toys to stop the transfer of bodily fluids between you and your partners. It is not a good idea to share towels or washcloths. Since many STIs including trichomoniasis may have no signs or symptoms, it’s a good idea to have regular sexual health check-ups.
If you have trichomoniasis you need to let your current sexual partners know so that they can be tested and treated. For advice on how to make it easier to tell them visit the let them know website.