Trichomonas vaginalis


  • Trichomonas vaginalis (TV): 5-15 µm, pear-shaped, motile, flagellated protozoan parasite.
    • Exists in the trophozoite stage only [Fig. 1; life cycle].
      • Facultative anaerobe divides by binary fission.
      • Optimal growth in moist milieu at a pH of 4.9-7.5 and a temperature of 35oC-37oC.
    • Trichomonads gather in clusters on the stratified urogenital epithelium, covering only a small surface area.
      • Parasites invade the superficial epithelium causing damage directly beneath the clustered trichomonads.
      • The nonspecific inflammatory response was noted in the lamina propria with plasma cells, lymphocytes, and neutrophils present.
      • Superficial ulceration of the epithelium can occur.
  • Transmission issues:
    • Can survive up to 45 minutes on clothing, washcloths, and in bathwater.
    • The presence of infection enhances the acquisition of HIV infection.
    • Antecedent bacterial vaginosis (BV), is a risk factor for T. vaginalis acquisition.

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Last updated: November 14, 2021