A fast, cheap test has been developed to diagnose “the most common sexually transmitted infection you’ve probably never heard of”.
Approximately 156 million cases worldwide each year Trichomoniasis – More than chlamydia (127 million), gonorrhea (87 million) or syphilis (6 million).
Trichomoniasis – caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis – causes no symptoms in about 70 percent of people who are infected.
But even in asymptomatic people, it increases the likelihood of HIV infection, is linked to infertility and pregnancy complications in women, and may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Now, researchers at Washington State University (WSU) in the US have developed a test that takes less than five minutes and costs less than $20 (£16).
New test, see journal for details PathogenIt only takes one drop of blood to detect antibodies specific to trichomoniasis.
As with COVID-19 and pregnancy tests, the results are displayed in a window with a dot if antibodies are present, indicating infection.
Once trichomoniasis is diagnosed, it is easily cured with a drug called metronidazole.
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Trichomoniasis “is the most common sexually transmitted infection you’ve probably never heard of,” said study lead author John Alderete, a professor at Washington State University.
“This STI is probably the most neglected of the other curable STIs. One of the main problems is that most people don’t have symptoms. In other words, you may have it but you don’t know you have it, Until you have a really bad problem.”
It’s usually only diagnosed when people experience symptoms, which can include vulvar itching, abnormal discharge, and a burning sensation when urinating.
The current test, which is primarily aimed at women, involves vaginal swabs and requires trained staff, specialized equipment and time to get results.
In contrast, the newly developed test does not require specialized training or equipment, and treatment can be administered immediately after diagnosis.