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Anyone who thinks that they might have trichomoniasis should get a test for this condition. Without treatment, trichomoniasis can increase the risk of a person contracting HIV.

Trichomoniasis, which people often refer to as “trich,” can also increase the risk of pregnancy complications, such as premature labor or low birth weight.

This article discusses what trichomoniasis is and how tests for the infection work. It also lists some of the tests available to purchase online and explains when to see a doctor.

Trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States, affecting about 3.7 million people. It is particularly common in females.

Although 70–85% of people with trichomoniasis have very few or no symptoms, the infection can still spread from them to others. Due to this, access to a convenient trichomoniasis test is important for people who are sexually active.

The cause of trichomoniasis is a parasite that spreads easily through sexual activity, including:

  • vaginal sex
  • sharing sex toys
  • touching the genitals with the hands after touching fluid that contains the infection
  • vulva-to-vulva contact

The majority of people with trichomoniasis do not have symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they can take until 5–28 days after exposure to trichomoniasis to develop. It can be easy to mistake the symptoms as being due to another condition, such as a urinary tract infection or yeast infection.

Possible signs of trichomoniasis include:

When people test positive for trichomoniasis, they and any sexual partners should receive treatment for the condition. Antibiotics called nitroimidazoles are the standard treatment for trichomoniasis. This medication, which people take either in one large dose or twice a day for 7 days, is generally effective.

The first step in a trichomoniasis test is collecting a sample, which could be in the form of a urine sample or, for females, a swab of vaginal secretions.

The following are common methods for analyzing samples in a trichomoniasis test:

  • Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs): The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this molecular detection process for analyzing vaginal swabs and urine samples from females.
  • Antigen tests: This test, which doctors only use on female samples, is particularly fast and can provide results in 45 minutes.
  • Wet prep: Although it is potentially the most common testing process, it is not the most sensitive. This method requires analysts to use microscopes to look for parasites in samples.
  • Culture: Growing cultures from samples may yield high quality test results, but it can take up to 7 days to get results.

A trichomoniasis test can be either positive, negative, or unclear. If the results are positive, and a person has the infection, healthcare professionals can help them get treatment and take action to treat the infection.

Whether people undergo testing at a clinic or take an at-home test, they should discuss the test results with a licensed healthcare professional.

A follow-up test may be necessary if the results are not clear. If the test comes back negative, experts recommend that people use barrier methods, such as condoms, during sexual activity and undergo regular testing for STIs.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information is purely research-based.

Home tests, which connect consumers to certified labs, are available through these companies:

LetsGetChecked

LetsGetChecked offers at-home tests for coronavirus, wellness, and other health concerns, including sexual health.

Three of its sexual health tests — the Basic 3, Standard 5, and Complete 8 — include a trichomoniasis test.

Users receive their tests, collect their samples, and mail them in. They can check their results in a secure online location in 2–5 days. A doctor will review the results, and a nursing team member will then contact the user to discuss the next steps.

EverlyWell

This online health diagnostics company offers 30 test panels, covering everything from allergies to thyroid function.

The trichomoniasis test uses a urine sample. The kit contains a urine cup, sample tube, pipette, bio-hazard bag, and prepaid shipping labels. Users register their kits, collect their samples at home, send them off, and receive doctor-reviewed results securely online within days. If the results are positive, a board-certified doctor will contact the user to discuss the test and the next steps.

The specific test that the company uses is the NAAT, which EverlyWell says is an effective trichomoniasis test for both males and females.

People who have symptoms of trichomoniasis, such as genital irritation, itching, unusual discharge, or discomfort, should consider asking a doctor about getting a trichomoniasis test.

However, because this STI often does not produce symptoms, people should also speak with a doctor or get a test if they have:

  • received a diagnosis of a different STI
  • a sexual partner who has tested positive for trichomoniasis or other STIs
  • had unprotected sex with someone without knowing their sexual history

Trichomoniasis, or trich, is one of the world’s most common STIs, especially for females. The symptoms can include itching, discomfort, swelling, soreness around the genitals, and unusual discharge. However, these symptoms resemble those of many other conditions, and most people who get trichomoniasis do not get any symptoms.

The only way to be sure whether someone has this STI is to get a trichomoniasis test. People can get tests from healthcare professionals or use at-home tests. It is important to speak with a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and get appropriate treatments.