Objective: To discuss the epidemiology of Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) and HIV co-infections, the role of TV in acquisition and transmission of HIV, special treatment considerations for TV among women with HIV and the prevention of TV among HIV-infected persons.
Design: Systematic review.
Data source: Review of literature of EMBASE and PubMed databases from January 1990 to February 2013. Search keywords included TV, HIV co-infections, HIV acquisition, HIV transmission, HIV shedding, TV treatment, HIV and couples studies.
Review method: We included studies of any design that contained the selected search words and were published during the specified time frame. We then searched the reference lists of included papers for additional papers and included these when relevant.
Results: There is strong evidence that TV increases both transmission and acquisition of HIV among women, and that successful treatment for TV can reduce HIV genital shedding. Single dose metronidazole (MTZ) should no longer be used for HIV+ women with TV given the high rates of asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis co-infections and other factors that may render MTZ less effective in HIV+ women. Prevention of TV among HIV+ persons is similar to among HIV, including promotion of condoms as well as regular screening and prompt treatment. There may be a role for expedited partner treatment for the prevention of repeat infections, but most repeat infections are clinical treatment failures. Diligence in screening and treating TV among both HIV- susceptible and HIV+ persons is an important public health strategy.
Keywords: HIV; PUBLIC HEALTH; TRANSMISSION DYNAMICS; TREATMENT; TRICHOMONAS.