Global epidemiology and control of Trichomonas vaginalis

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2008 Feb;21(1):56-64. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3282f3d999.


Purpose of review: Trichomonas vaginalis is the most common curable sexually transmitted infection. Despite a number of serious health consequences including facilitation of HIV transmission, pelvic inflammatory disease and adverse outcomes of pregnancy it remains an under-recognized condition. This review aims to update the reader on the global epidemiology and control of T. vaginalis.

Recent findings: The burden of T. vaginalis infection is found in resource-limited settings and high-risk groups in industrialized settings. Utilization of polymerase chain reaction-based diagnostics has enhanced our understanding of the epidemiology of T. vaginalis both at the population level and in sexual partners. High rates of asymptomatic infection in male partners of infected females and subsequent re-infection have significant implications for control programmes. Further studies investigating the role of T. vaginalis in facilitating HIV transmission has highlighted its significance and the need to develop and implement control interventions.

Summary: Future research to develop cheap, point-of-care diagnostic tests will allow a greater understanding of T. vaginalis epidemiology. In addition, the effect of treatment on outcome of pregnancy and HIV acquisition requires further study. This will in turn facilitate operational studies evaluating optimal control strategies and their impact on the complications of T. vaginalis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / complications
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / parasitology*
  • Trichomonas Infections / complications
  • Trichomonas Infections / epidemiology*
  • Trichomonas Infections / parasitology*
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / isolation & purification*