Trichomoniasis. It sounds like a rare and fatal brain disorder, found amongst the indigenous populations of a tropical island, that leaves its victims unable to stand or eat. Or an incurable and mysterious skin disease characterized by crawling sensations, lesions, and memory loss.
As scary as it sounds, Trichomoniasis is not some obscure, deadly disease. In fact, Trich is the most common curable STD. Around 3.7 million people in the United States are infected (CDC). Trich is caused by Trichomonasis vaginalis, a protozoan parasite. During sex, the parasite can jump from vagina to penis, penis to vagina, or vagina to vagina.
Symptoms can set in 5 to 28 days after infection, but only 30% of infected individuals develop symptoms. However, the remaining 70% can still transmit Trich.
Symptoms in girls:
- Itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals
- Discomfort with urination
- Thin discharge with an unusual smell that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish
Symptoms in boys:
- Itching or irritation inside the penis
- Burning after urination or ejaculation
- Some discharge from the penis
Trich can be cured with a single dose of antibiotics. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 people are reinfected within 3 months after treatment. So make sure that your sex partner(s) get treated too and refrain from getting your freak on until all symptoms disappear. If left untreated, Trich can last for months to years and can increase chances of getting or spreading other STDs.
How can you prevent yourself from getting infected?
- Abstinence. It’s the only way to be 100% safe.
- Use latex condoms correctly every time you have sex. This reduces your risk but is not 100% full-proof. Despite the elasticity of condoms, they just don’t cover everything. Trich can still jump from point A and infect point B.
- Talk it out. Yeah, it might be uncomfortable but if it’s gonna save you from itching and burning in places that shouldn’t be, then the 5-10 minutes of awkwardness are worth it.
In case you were wondering, the blood-curdling illnesses described above are real! During the 1950s and ’60s, the brain disorder, Kuru, occurred at epidemic levels among the Fore Tribe in New Guinea and was caused by cannibalism (NINDS). It was a ritual to eat the tissue and brains of deceased family members. With the decrease in cannibalism, Kuru has now mostly disappeared. According to mayoclinic.com, the mysterious skin disease, Morgellons, is very controversial. Some doctors believe that Morgellons is caused by a mental illness. So far, scientists have not yet discovered its cause, treatment, or if it’s even contagious.
I’ll end this on an interplanetary, megastellar, hydrostatic note. To all the ’90s kids that grew up watching Disney Original Movies, this one’s for you: Super Nova Girl (Zoom Zoom Zoom)
By ALYSSA LLAMAS