Indian J Sex Transm Dis Indian J Sex Transm Dis
Official Publication of the Indian Association for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Indian J Sex Transm Dis
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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-14

An update on Trichomonas vaginalis

Department of Microbiology, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Seema Sood
Department of Microbiology, AIIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Trichomonas vaginalis is a parasitic protozoan that is the cause of trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) of worldwide importance. Recent data have shown that the annual incidence of trichomoniasis is more than 170 million cases worldwide. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that this infection accounts for almost half of all curable sexually transmitted infections. The actual burden of the disease remains unknown in India. As per the published literature, the prevalence of T. vaginalis ranges from 0.4-27.4% in women and 0.0-5.6% in men. Although T. vaginalis is the most common cause of nonviral STD, the exact mechanism of its pathogenesis has not been clearly elucidated. Standard teaching is that trichomoniasis is an important cause of vaginitis in women. The prevalence and spectrum of disease in males are less well characterized; the infection appears to usually be asymptomatic, but it has been suggested as an increasingly important cause of nongonococcal urethritis. The laboratory plays a key role in the diagnosis of this infection. The time-honored approach has been microscopic evaluation by wet mount method. The broth culture method is the 'gold standard' for diagnosis of trichomoniasis and detects twice as many infections as the wet mount method. The drug of choice is metronidazole or tinidazole. For long it has been considered a 'minor' STD. Recent literature documents that women infected during pregnancy are predisposed to premature rupture of membranes, premature labor, and low-birth-weight infants. Further, it may amplify HIV transmission. Therefore, the identification of this common treatable sexually transmitted infections offers a precious and much needed additional strategy for AIDS prevention.

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