Diagnosis and Management of Trichomonas vaginalis: Summary of Evidence Reviewed for the 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines

Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 13;74(Suppl_2):S152-S161. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciac030.


Trichomonas vaginalis is likely the most prevalent nonviral sexually transmitted infection, affecting an estimated 3.7 million women and men in the United States. Health disparities are prominent in the epidemiology of trichomoniasis, as African Americans are >4 times more likely to be infected than persons of other races. Since publication of the 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, additional data have bolstered the importance of T. vaginalis infection sequelae in women, including increased risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition, cervical cancer, preterm birth, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Less is known about the clinical significance of infection in men. Newly available diagnostic methods, including point-of-care assays and multiple nucleic acid amplification tests, can be performed on a variety of genital specimens in women and men, including urine, allowing more accurate and convenient testing and screening of those at risk for infection. Repeat and persistent infections are common in women; thus, rescreening at 3 months after treatment is recommended. In vitro antibiotic resistance to 5-nitroimidazole in T. vaginalis remains low (4.3%) but should be monitored. High rates of T. vaginalis among sexual partners of infected persons suggest a role for expedited partner treatment. A randomized controlled trial in HIV-uninfected women demonstrated that multidose metronidazole 500 mg twice daily for 7 days reduced the proportion of women with Trichomonas infection at 1 month test of cure compared with women receiving single-dose therapy (2 g). The 2-g single-dose oral metronidazole regimen remains the preferred treatment in men.

Keywords: Trichomonas vaginalis; clinical care; review; trichomoniasis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Trichomonas Infections* / diagnosis
  • Trichomonas Infections* / drug therapy
  • Trichomonas Infections* / epidemiology
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis* / diagnosis
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis* / drug therapy
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis* / epidemiology
  • Trichomonas vaginalis*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Metronidazole