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Trichomonas vaginalis: what are symptoms of STI more common than gonorrhoea, and which groups are affected?

Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

An "unknown" sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is more common than gonorrhoea has recently surged among women from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

New research from Preventx found that the STI trichomonas vaginalis (TV) has been disproportionately common amongst minority and deprived groups, often without symptoms.

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Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

But what is TV and what did the study say?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is TV?

Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Women with trichomoniasis can experience painful urination, vulval itching and discomfort, vaginal discharge and odour.

It can be easily treated with antibiotics once diagnosed, but follow-up testing is recommended to confirm the infection has gone.

Testing and treating sexual partners is also vital in order to prevent reinfection.

If TV is left untreated, it can increase the likelihood of acquiring HIV after exposure and can cause complications in pregnant women, such as low birth weight and early birth.

What did the study find?

A new study found TV is more common among ethnically diverse communities than gonorrhoea.

The new research was presented by Preventx at the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV annual conference.

As part of the study, the team reviewed data from 8,676 women from six English local authority areas who had completed remote STI tests.

Data shows that 5.2% of women from black, black British, Caribbean, or African backgrounds who were experiencing vaginal discharge, which is a symptom of TV, tested positive for the infection.

This compared to 3.4% in white women and 3.5% across all women.

IT was also found that TV disproportionately affects asymptomatic women from black, black British, Caribbean, or African backgrounds.

The study found that there was a positivity rate of more than double that of asymptomatic white British women (2% vs 0.8%).

Researchers also looked at the relationship between TV positivity rates and levels of deprivation, with the most-deprived communities having higher levels of positivity than other communities as 5.9% of symptomatic women in the most deprived quintile tested positive for TV.

This was found to be significantly higher than the 1.4% positivity rate seen in the least deprived areas.