Trichomoniasis: clinical manifestations, diagnosis and management
- Correspondence to: Heidi Swygard CB # 7030, 130 Mason Farm Road, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7030, USA;
- Accepted 1 September 2003
Trichomonas vaginalis was originally considered a commensal organism until the 1950s when the understanding of its role as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) began to evolve. Trichomoniasis has been associated with vaginitis, cervicitis, urethritis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and adverse birth outcomes. Infection with T vaginalis could have an important role in transmission and acquisition of HIV. T vaginalis is site specific for the genitourinary tract and has been isolated from virtually all genitourinary structures. Asymptomatic disease is common in both men and women, thus screening for disease is important. Various sociodemographic factors have been correlated with presence of T vaginalis, and may be used to predict infection. Diagnosis is usually made from wet mount microscopy and direct visualisation, which are insensitive. DNA amplification techniques perform with good sensitivity, but are not yet approved for diagnostic purposes. In areas where diagnostic methods are limited, management of trichomoniasis is usually as part of a clinical syndrome; vaginal discharge for women and urethral discharge for men. A single dose of metronidazole is effective in the majority of cases. Outside of the United States, other nitroimidazoles may be used and are as effective as metronidazole. Metronidazole resistance is an emerging problem, but its clinical importance is not yet clear. Concomitant treatment of sexual partners is recommended.