Check Up: Woman believes she got STI after sharing toilet

February 28, 2018

Dear Readers,

Thelma from a Kingston address says that she has been treated twice this year for trichomonas infections, and she has been with two different partners.

She shares toilet and bathroom facilities both at home and at work, and wonders if this could be the cause of her recurring infection.

While trichomonas infection, also called trich, is a sexually transmitted Infection (STI) and is most often transmitted through penis-to-vagina intercourse, it can, on occasions, also be contracted through contact with damp or moist objects such as towels or a wet toilet seat if the contact occurs within minutes of the organism being deposited. As the toilet seat or wet towel dries out, the organism dies.

However, trich is a really common STI which is caused by a protozoan parasite called trichomonas vaginalis, and although there are symptoms, many people cannot tell they are infected. Symptoms develop from five to 30 days after exposure. Only about 30 per cent of persons with this infection develop symptoms which include: yellow, grey or green discharge; burning during urination; sexual discomfort; or penile discharge in men.

Trichomonas is easily treated with Metronidazole (Flagyl) or Tinidazole, and should always be treated.

Trich also increases a person's chance of getting HIV infection. Also, getting the infection once does not protect the person from being reinfected in the future. When sexually active, the only way to lower chances of contracting trich are to be involved in a monogamous relationship (on both sides); use latex condoms every time you have sex although trich can infect areas not covered by the condom, so condoms don't give full protection; and both partners should get tested for STIs before beginning a monogamous relationship.

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