What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a genital infection caused by the organism trichomonas vaginalis that is spread through sexual contact.


What are the symptoms?

Most people with the infection do not have any symptoms. Trichomonas vaginalis can infect the vagina and the urethra.

Symptoms can include:

  • a smelly, frothy vaginal discharge
  • vulval itch, burning or soreness
  • although uncommon, a discharge from the penis
  • pain passing urine

If untreated trichomoniasis can have complications such as inflammation of the prostate.

It may cause pregnancy complications such as premature labour and low birth weight babies. It may also increase the risk of HIV transmission if exposed.


How is it spread?

Trichomoniasis is spread through sexual contact.


When should I have a test?

Testing for trichomoniasis is not currently recommended for people without symptoms.

You should have a test for trichomoniasis if:

  • you have signs or symptoms of a vulval or vaginal infection
  • you have a sexual partner who has been diagnosed as having trichomoniasis

People with penile symptoms are not recommended to be tested until other common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been tested for.


How is it tested?

Trichomoniasis is easily tested by a swab or a urine test.

The urine test is best collected at least 20 minutes after last going to the toilet. If you have symptoms a swab may be collected by a doctor or nurse, or you can do the swab yourself.


How is trichomoniasis treated?

Trichomoniasis infection is treated with antibiotics.

It’s important that you do not have sexual intercourse for one week after treatment has been completed so that you don’t pass on the infection or become reinfected yourself.

You should also not have sex with any recent partner/s until 7 days after they have received treatment.

Your current sexual partner/s should be notified so they can also receive treatment.


Prevention of trichomoniasis

  • Use condoms.
  • Talk about any past infections with your sexual partner/s.
  • Get tested regularly.


Where can I get tested?

  • You can visit SHINE SA for further information, testing and treatment.

You can also:

  • Make an appointment with your local doctor, health care provider or Aboriginal Health service.
  • Contact Adelaide Sexual Health Centre:
    275 North Terrace, Adelaide
    Tel: 7117 2800