Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is a tiny parasite which is transmitted sexually. The infection is most commonly spread through unprotected vaginal sex. The treatment for TV is antibiotic tablets.

What is it?

Trichomonas vaginalis (TV for short) is a tiny parasite which is passed on during unprotected sex. The infection is found in the vagina in women and in the urethra (the tube urine comes out of) in men.

How do I catch it?

The most common way of passing on the infection is through unprotected vaginal sex.

What symptoms could I have?

What symptoms could I have?

Women might notice:

  • Discomfort while having sex.
  • An unpleasant smell.
  • Change in vaginal discharge.
  • Soreness and itching in and around the vagina.
  • Pain when passing urine.

Men often do not notice any symptoms. However, very occasionally they might notice:

  • Burning or pain when passing urine.
  • Irritation of the foreskin (although this is unusual).
  • A discharge from the penis.
How do you test for it?

You can be tested for TV at the sexual health clinic. They will take a swab from the vagina (and there might be a test for men in the future). The results can take up to two weeks.

You can use the service finder to find a testing service near you.

How do you treat it?

TV is treated using antibiotic tablets.

If you are diagnosed with TV, it is very important that your partner is also treated before you have sex again to prevent reinfection.