Trichomonas vaginalis: paradigm of a successful sexually transmitted organism

Br J Biomed Sci. 2005;62(4):193-200. doi: 10.1080/09674845.2005.11732710.


Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is one of the most successful protozoan pathogens and one of the most common sexually transmitted organism in females, yet it is also one of the most poorly investigated. By producing a wide array of glycosidases and cysteine proteinase enzymes, the organism can easily adapt to the environment, harvesting host proteins and DNA for metabolism. With the ability to cause lesions, vaginitis and acute inflammatory disease of the genital mucosa, TV acts as a potential catalyst in the acquisition of secondary infections including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human papillomavirus (HPV), the organism responsible for the pathogenesis of cervical cancer. Treatment of TV infection is relatively easy and could dramatically reduce the transmission of HIV in areas where TV is endemic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / parasitology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / complications*
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / complications*
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / pathogenicity*
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / physiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / parasitology