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Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Symptoms of trichomoniasis usually develop within a month of infection, although up to half of all infected men and women have no symptoms yet can still pass on the infection without knowing. 

You may sometimes hear this infection referred to as TV. 

In women, this parasite mainly infects the vagina and urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body). In men, the infection most commonly affects the urethra, but the head of the penis or prostate gland (a gland near the bladder that helps produce semen) can become infected in some cases.


In women

  • abnormal vaginal discharge that may be thick, thin or frothy and yellow-green in colour
  • producing more discharge than normal, which may also have an unpleasant fishy smell
  • soreness, inflammation (swelling) and itching around the vagina - sometimes the inner thighs also become itchy
  • pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex

In men

  • pain during urination or ejaculation
  • needing to urinate more frequently than usual 
  • thin white discharge from the penis
  • soreness, swelling and redness around the head of the penis (balanitis) or foreskin (balano-posthitis)


The only way to find out if you have TV is to be tested.

Trichomoniasis can usually be diagnosed after an examination of the genitals and a laboratory test using a swab taken from the vagina or penis. 

If you think you have any of the above symptoms, you should:

  • Freephone 0300 123 5474 (8.00am - 6.00pm, Mon - Fri)


Trichomoniasis is unlikely to go away without treatment, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Most people who test positive are treated with a course of medication for 5 to 7 days. It is important to complete the full course and avoid having having sex until the infection clears up. 

It is also really important that your current partner(s) and any other recent partners are also tested and treated.


You can prevent TV and other STIs by:

  • using male condoms or female condoms every time you have vaginal sex or male condoms during anal sex
  • using a condom to cover the penis or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals, if you have oral sex
  • not sharing sex toys or washing them and covering them with a new condom before anyone else uses them

More information

Visit NHS Choices - Trichomoniasis.


Last updated: 01/11/2023