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Ethnic minorities are more likely to contract obscure UTI

New research carried out by sexual health organisation Preventx reveals that women from ethnic minority or deprived backgrounds are more likely to contract trichomonas vaginalis in comparison to other women.

The sexually transmitted infection referred to as TV for short is not really that heard of due to a lack of discussion but more often than not it has no symptoms but can cause a world of problems for those that contract it.

If it goes untreated it can increase the chances of getting HIV and can cause complications for women that are pregnant.

Trichomonas vaginalis is caused by a parasite. People usually get it after engaging in sexual intercourse without the use of a condom.

Up to half of those that are infected do not develop any symptoms so they are not aware they even have it and for those that do develop symptoms they tend to show up about a month after the initial infection.

Both men and women can contact this UTI and the symptoms for each are as follows:

In women

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Soreness or itching around the vagina

  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse or urination

In men

  • Discharge from the penis

  • Pain when peeing or during ejaculation

  • Soreness or swelling of the penis.

A spokesperson for Preventx Dr Vanessa Apea confirmed that the infection has stayed under the radar in comparison to other STI’s.

Photo of Dr Vanessa Apea
Image credit: PreventX

“Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) has been around for a long time yet it is an under-reported and relatively unknown sexually transmitted infection amongst the general population.”

“It can be asymptomatic and symptomatic, and both men and women can catch it. Women, in particular, can remain infected for years – and their distressing symptoms are often misdiagnosed or dismissed.”

Women who are ethnic minorities reportedly have a higher positivity rate for TV than other women.

Dr Apea, also stressed the importance of the accessibility of high quality and discreet testing.

When asked if it was simply a case of ethnic minorities undergoing more testing that has resulted in them being more likely to contract the infection she stated

“New data analysis shows a 5.2% positivity rate in women from Black, Black British, Caribbean, or African background who had experienced vaginal discharge. ”

“This is significantly higher than the 3.4% positivity rate recorded in white British women and 3.5% positivity rate across all women.”

“TV also disproportionately affects asymptomatic women from Black, Black British, Caribbean, or African background, with a positivity rate more than twice that of asymptomatic white British women (2% vs 0.8%).”

“Other factors will also play a role, such as the stigma some people associate with visiting a sexual health clinic and access to testing.”

“That is why it is so important that everyone has access to high quality remote sexual health testing – like that provided by Preventx– so they can access testing conveniently and discreetly.”

TV can be treated and should not go untreated due to the possible health risks.

"TV can usually be treated with antibiotics but increasing rates of treatment failure

make it important for testing to be performed after treatment."

"...left untreated, the infection can increase the likelihood of acquiring HIV and can

cause complications in pregnant women, including low birth weight and early birth.

The aim of this article is to get more people to become more aware of their holistic health and put their health and wellbeing as a top priority. Sexual health is undoubtedly a big part of life for many people but testing and screening is still heavily stigmatised and that needs to change.


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