1978 women and 93 men, all suspected of having a Trichomonas vaginalis infection, were tested for the presence of T. vaginalis by real-time PCR using the T. vaginalis-specific 2-kb repeated sequence, and by direct microscopy and culture. 40 samples were positive by T. vaginalis real-time PCR and 27 were positive by wet mount microscopy, either direct or after culture. All samples positive by direct microscopy of culture were also positive by real-time PCR. Of the 13 samples which were real-time PCR positive but negative by direct microscopy and culture 11 were confirmed by another T. vaginalis real-time PCR based on the beta tubulin gene. Only 2 samples (0.1%) showed inhibition in the PCR. The prevalence of T. vaginalis infection in the female patients was 1.8%. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of the real-time PCR were 100%, 99.9%, 95% and 100%, respectively. The same test characteristics for the combined conventional T. vaginalis detection methods (microscopy+culture) were 71%, 100%, 100% and 99%, respectively. Therefore, real-time PCR is the method of choice for the diagnosis of T. vaginalis infection.