Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

What is it?

Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is a tiny parasite which is transmitted during sex. In women the infection can be found in the vagina. In men it can be found in the urethra (the tube which runs through the penis).

How do I catch it?

TV is most commonly spread through unprotected vaginal sex.


Women might notice:

  • soreness and itching in and around the vagina
  • discomfort while having sex
  • change in vaginal discharge
  • pain when passing urine
  • an unpleasant smell

Men often do not notice any symptoms. Very occasionally they may notice:

  • a discharge from the penis
  • pain or burning when passing urine
  • irritation of the foreskin (this is unusual)


We test for TV by taking a swab from the vagina, or urine from men. Getting the results can take up to two weeks.


Trichomonas vaginalis is treated with antibiotic tablets.

If you are diagnosed with TV, it's essential that your partner is also treated before you have sex again.

All Umbrella clinics provide treatment for sexually transmitted infections. To find clinics, and to see which services they offer, please see the service locator.

Find clinics and pharmacies

Worried about trichomonas vaginalis?

How to avoid STIs

See the FPA website for a range of downloadable leaflets on contraception and sexually transmitted infections.

View FPA leaflets

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) website also features a range of downloadable leaflets on STIs.

View BASHH leaflets