Trichomoniasis, caused by the parasite trichomonas vaginalis (or TV), can be diagnosed through a test involving a urine sample or a swab from the genitals.
On this page, we’ll discuss:
- when testing for TV is necessary
- where you can get tested for TV
- how testing works
- whether TV testing is part of regular STI screening
- and what happens if you get a positive result
You should get tested for TV, or speak to a doctor or nurse, if you:
- develop any of the symptoms associated with TV
- or have had sex with someone who has (or suspects they have) TV
It’s also important to get tested regularly (every 12 months) for all STIs if you are sexually active.
If you have had unprotected sex with someone whose STI status you do not know, it’s recommended that you get tested just to be safe.
You can find more on our information page on how trichomonas vaginalis is transmitted.
As with other STIs, you can get tested for TV by visiting a GUM or sexual health clinic.
Some GP services also offer testing, but in most cases they will refer you to a GUM clinic if they don’t facilities to carry out testing themselves.
Many community hospitals also offer testing. You can usually arrange this directly with them, or you can do so through your GP.
It’s also possible to buy testing kits for TV online. These will allow you to collect a sample at home, which you can then send off to a lab who will then provide a test result.
If you see a doctor or nurse in person, they may undertake a short examination beforehand to check for any noticeable symptoms.
For women, the examination will usually be a pelvic exam, to see if any discharge characteristic of trichomonas vaginalis is present, or any inflammation inside the vagina or on the cervix.
Similarly for men, an examination will look to see if there is any evidence of inflammation of the penis, or discharge.
When testing it undertaken in person, a woman will usually have a swab sample taken from the vagina; men can have a swab, or produce a urine sample. These are then sent to a lab for analysis. If you result is positive, you’ll usually be notified within a few days.
If after your test you don’t hear anything for two weeks, you’ll typically be advised to call up and confirm a negative result.
It is possible that a GP may initiate a course of treatment prior to receiving results if the symptoms are clear and obvious enough to suggest that TV is present.
When you use a home testing kit, you’ll simply collect the urine or swab sample at home, then send this back to the lab for analysis by post.
In some cases you’ll receive your result electronically (for example, when you use the testing service at Treated.com, you’ll be notified your result is ready and asked to login to your secure patient area to view it).
Other online services may notify you over the phone.
When you attend regular, routine STI testing, the test you have should indicate whether or not you have TV.
However, if you think you have come into contact with TV specifically, you should tell the doctor or nurse at the GUM clinic. They may choose to perform an examination and, if symptoms are present, start treatment before the results come back.
You’ll be advised to have antibiotic treatment. The first line for trichomoniasis currently is metronidazole, which is also available under the brand name Flagyl.
You can read more on our page about how trichomonas vaginalis is treated.