What the heck is it anyway?

Trichomoniasis, (we’ll just call it “trich” – that’s pronounced “trick”) is an STI caused by an infection with a parasite, called Trichomonas vaginalis. It’s considered one of the most curable STIs, and it’s also one of the most common. An estimated 3.7 million people in the U.S. have it, and more than one million new cases are reported each year. Trich is spread through sexual contact with an infected partner.

About 70% of people who have trich don’t know it because they don’t show any symptoms. If symptoms develop, they can take anywhere from 3 days to nearly a month to appear. Some common symptoms of trich include:

  • Frequent and painful urination
  • Swelling in the groin
  • Pain during sex
  • Unpleasant discharge


Girls are more likely to show symptoms than guys, but guys can certainly get and spread trich.

Condoms do a pretty good job of protecting you from trich, so be sure to use them every time you have sex to reduce your risk. Just because trich is a curable and common disease, doesn’t mean you want to chance getting it. Having trich also puts you at a higher risk for contracting other diseases, like HIV and vaginitis, so getting tested (and treated, if it’s necessary) is super important.

You can’t diagnose trich based on symptoms alone. If you’re concerned that you might have trich or another STD, we recommend visiting a healthcare provider. They’ll get you tested, and let you know what you can do to get healthy again. If you have a vagina, your doctor will likely give you a pelvic exam to get a sample of your vaginal discharge, and if you have a penis, your doctor will take a swab of your urethra for a discharge sample.


In North Carolina, you have the right to get confidential STI tests and treatment without a parent’s permission. Want to get tested, but don’t know where to go? Use this nifty search tool to find a testing site near you.