For the last year and half, I have been disseminating information about various sexually transmitted diseases and have more or less touched upon every disease known. This is the month of AIDS awareness. But Bholada feels that the realms of awareness must extend to any STD because a gay man is not just at risk from the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. So we must have a shield of knowledge to ensure safe practices during sexual encounters to protect us from any unintended “mistakes”. While writing about STIs, I had focused more on diseases affecting mostly males. So today we shift our focus on a protozoan disease caused mostly in women – Trichomoniasis.
Q: What is Trichomoniasis and how is it caused?
BholaDa says: Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by infection of the protozoan Trichomoniasis vaginalis. Mostly people with multiple sexual partners are at high risk of infection. The risk group includes women belonging to the young age group. The infection spreads due to penal-vaginal sex or vulva-vulva contact. Women are infected in the vagina while in men, site of infection is the urethra.
Q: What are the symptoms of the disease?
Bholada Says: Symptoms generally do not appear in men. However, few men report some common symptoms like discharge from penis, burning sensation during urination or ejaculation, pain in the testes, painful sexual intercourse etc.
Among women, the symptoms include coloured vaginal discharges with strong odour. The discomfort during urination or intercourse is seen in case of women also. Irritation and itching in the genital areas is also common. In severe cases, abdominal pain is also reported by some patients.
The incubation period of the protozoan is 15-28 days.
Trichomoniasis also increases the vulnerability to be infected by HIV.
Q: What are the diagnoses of Trichomoniasis?
Bholada Says: A physical examination by the doctor can help detect Trichomoniasis due to appearance of red sores on vaginal walls and in the cervix. For confirmation, biochemical tests must be performed in the lab with cervical sample in case of women and urethral fluid from men.
Q: What is the treatment for Trichomoniasis?
Bholada Says: Generally the treatment for Trichomoniasis includes prescription of drugs like metronidazole or tinidazole, given by mouth in a single dose. Although the symptoms may disappear after medication, a person can continue to infect his partner with the protozoan. Hence, to completely eliminate the disease, both partners should undergo the treatment together. Abstaining from sex during treatment is also advised.
Q: How can Trichomoniasis be prevented?
Bholada Says: Risking reiteration, I wish to advise my readers again that nothing is more apt to cut off the risk of sexually transmitted diseases than abstaining from sex altogether. Since that is not humanly possible, even a long term monogamous sexual relationship helps. Use of condoms too is helpful.
Hopefully, my readers will take extra precaution next time they mate after reading my column. Until the next time we meet, have loads of sex, but make sure you are safe! Season’s greetings for all.