The most common curable STD, trichomoniasis affects more than 220 million people across the world (according to World Health Organization estimates). Caused by a parasitic microorganism, the condition is very often asymptomatic until it causes further damage. This characteristic makes trichomoniasis quite dangerous and easy to spread.
While a treatment protocol for the STD is already in existence, researchers are always looking for ways to make treatments safer, more readily accessible and more effective.
A new clinical trial suggests that a brand new treatment option for the treatment of trichomoniasis in women shows a lot of promise.
Diversifying the Trichomoniasis Treatment Protocols
The phase 3 results of a new clinical trial were presented at the 2020 summit of the Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The findings suggest that a medication by the name of secnidazole (an antibiotic used in the treatment of bacterial vaginal infections) could be a safe and effective way to cure trichomoniasis. The randomized, placebo-controlled and double-blind study showed that secnidazole can return a positive trichomoniasis vaginalis culture to negative within six to 12 days of initiating the treatment.
The patients participating in the trial were randomized in two groups, either receiving a dose of the antibiotic or a placebo. Of those who were given secnidazole, 92.2 per cent had a negative result for trichomoniasis within the specified time period. In the placebo group, the success rate was 1.5 per cent. Of all the women who were given secnidazole, 94.9 per cent were completely freed from the infection (in comparison to 1.7 per cent of the participants in the control group).
No serious side effects or adverse reactions were observed among the study participants administered the antibiotic treatment.
Since the trial has proven successful, a pharmaceutical company that develops its own secnidazole under a brand name will submit a supplemental new drug application in the US. As of now, the antibiotic is only approved for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis in the US.
If approved, the medication will become the only single-dose treatment for both trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis.
The Importance of Tackling Trichomoniasis Early on
Caused by the protozoan parasite trichomonas vaginalis, trichomoniasis is about four to five times more common in women than it is in men.
Nearly 70 per cent of the infected individuals will not develop any infection symptoms. For the others, the negative experiences may include soreness and burning in the genitals, painful urination, a change in the colour and texture of vaginal discharge and pain during intercourse.
Needless to say, these symptoms are very non-distinctive and they’re common in the case of various other STDs (as well as in the case of vaginal or urinary tract infections).
These unpleasant symptoms, however, are not the only negative consequence of getting trichomoniasis.
People who are infected, whether they have symptoms or not, are much more likely to get other sexually transmitted infections. Studies suggests that carriers of the parasite are at a higher risk of becoming HIV-positive after exposure. In fact, 53 per cent of the women who are HIV-positive are also diagnosed with trichomoniasis.
Trichomoniasis also causes frequent pregnancy complications when left untreated.
Women who are infected and pregnant increase their risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight of the baby. People who are carriers of the infection are also at a higher risk of experiencing fertility issues.
Protecting Your Health
Routine STD testing is the only way to make sure you don’t have the infection or to address it as soon as possible. Since trichomoniasis is completely curable, there really is no reason to refrain from seeking medical assistance.
Screening is recommended for people who have multiple sexual partners, sex workers and for those who already have a history of STIs. The risk of contracting trichomoniasis goes down significantly through careful and responsible sexual practices (being in a monogamous relationship, using protection, abstinence).
Healthcare service providers in Singapore are equipped with the knowledge and the tools to offer clients such services. At Shim Clinic, you can get a reliable trichomoniasis test that involves a simple vaginal swab. Some of the newer testing options are up to 100 per cent accurate, even in the early stages of the infection.
If a test comes back positive, an appropriate treatment protocol will be prescribed. At the time being, trichomoniasis is treated with two types of antibiotics – metronidazole or tinidazole. Depending on the stage of the infection, a doctor will recommend either a single dose of the medication or a treatment program over the course of several days.
The partners of women who have a trichomoniasis infection should also be tested and if positive, they’ll need to undergo treatment. Otherwise, the two individuals risk passing the infection back and forth to each other.
Please come to Shim Clinic during our working hours every day of the week to find out more. You can also contact the team to have your questions answered.
- A phase 3, multi-center, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, delayed treatment, double-blind study to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of a single oral dose of 2 grams of secnidazole for the treatment of trichomoniasis in women. (n.d.). American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Retrieved December 4, 2020, from https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(20)31011-5/abstract