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HIV and STIs

The majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted or are associated with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.  Our work links prevention with treatment, care and support, reduces HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and responds to unique regional and national characteristics of the epidemic.

Articles by HIV and STIs

カットされる資金援助があれば、IPPFは、27.5万人のHIV陽性の妊婦のケアができたことでしょう。
08 March 2017

Watch: What's the impact of the Global Gag Rule?

We calculated the human cost of the U.S. Global Gag Rule. The effects can be devastating for millions of poor and marginalised women.    WANT TO GET INVOLVED? SUBSCRIBE NOW TO GET UPDATES FROM IPPF SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH A DONATION

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

On 23 January 2017 President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule, or the Mexico City Policy.  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) believes in the right of every individual to decide about their own health and well-being.  As an organisation that seeks to protect and improve the lives of women, men and children around the world, IPPF and its partners in 170 countries will not sign a policy that denies human rights and puts the lives of women at risk.   The Global Gag Rule denies U.S. funding to organisations like IPPF if they use money from other donors to provide abortion services, counselling or referrals—even if abortion is legal in a country. It blocks critical funding for health services like contraception, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for any organisation that refuses to sign it. When it has been enacted by previous Republican Presidents, evidence has shown that the Global Gag Rule has not reduced the number of abortions; rather, by eliminating access to contraception, it has led to more unintended pregnancies and more unsafe abortions.     IPPF is the largest non-governmental provider of contraception in the world. It has worked with the U.S. government for decades. Our global network of local partners delivers more than 300 services every minute of every day, including 70 million contraceptive services every year.  The Global Gag Rule’s reinstatement will result in additional unintended pregnancies and countless other needless injuries and deaths. It means IPPF will lose $100 million USD for proven programs that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for millions of women and youth who otherwise go without these vital services, including women suffering the burden of health and humanitarian crises.  Over the years USAID has been a huge supporter of family planning – with a budget of over $600 million per year. Reinstatement will mean that years of progress to increase access to essential services globally, will be lost. We cannot—and will not—deny life-saving services to the world’s poorest women.  We will work with governments and donors to bridge the funding and service gaps the Global Gag Rule creates. We will ensure that women can exercise their rights and access safe abortion and family planning.  WANT TO GET INVOLVED? SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH A DONATION     Subscribe to our updates!

Moonlight Star Project: RHU/Fortunate Kagumaho/Uganda
01 December 2022

World Aids Day: Innovations in HIV prevention technologies spark hope

In the 41 years since AIDS was first discovered in 1981, extraordinary progress has been made in the global response to HIV. Deaths caused by acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) - a condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - have been reduced by 68% since the peak in 2004. Improvements in treatment options have helped ensure people with HIV can live long and productive lives. New technologies to prevent HIV transmission mean people have more options for pleasurable sex with reduced risk of acquiring HIV.   But there is still a long way to go. In recent years, global progress towards eliminating HIV has slowed and funding has decreased. In 2021, 1.5 million new people were diagnosed with HIV; a total of 38.4 million people currently live with HIV globally.  Fortunately, important innovations in HIV prevention technologies have sparked hope that the global AIDS response can get closer to its targets for ending the pandemic. We need to increase access and affordability to these technologies while continuing to invest in new ways to prevent transmission, expand testing, and treat patients.  HIV prevention technologies to know about  The toolkit for technologies to prevent HIV transmission is expanding. In addition to the condom, which reduces transmission of HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections, and prevents pregnancy, we now have multiple ways to prevent HIV transmission.  Prevention of Perinatal Transmission uses Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to reduce transmission from a woman with HIV to her fetus during pregnancy, and from a woman to her infant during childbirth and breastfeeding.  Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) uses ARVs to reduce transmission when someone without HIV has had a possible exposure to HIV. PEP should be used in emergency situations and be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.  Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is used to reduce heterosexual transmission in men who do not have HIV.   A variety of new and existing forms of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) also need to be made available, accessible, and affordable to all.   Oral PrEP uses ARVs to help people who do not have HIV reduce their risk of acquiring HIV. PrEP was first recommended by the WHO in 2012. While over 3 million people have initiated oral PrEP globally since then, many more people need access to this highly effective method of HIV prevention.   Dapivirine Vaginal Ring is a ring that is placed in the vagina and contains ARVs to reduce sexual transmission of HIV for women. The ARVs are slowly released over the course of a month; a new ring is inserted for each month that a woman wants to reduce her risk of acquiring HIV. It was recommended by the WHO in January 2021 and has received regulatory approval in Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It is currently under regulatory review in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Long-acting Injectable PrEP using Cabotegravir-LA is a new form of PrEP that is injected intramuscularly every two months to prevent HIV. It was recommended by the WHO in 2022 and has received regulatory approval in Australia, the United States, and Zimbabwe. It is currently under regulatory review in Botswana, Brazil, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda.  Equalizing access for all  Adolescent girls and women account for 49% of new infections globally and 63% of new infections in sub-Saharan Africa. It is essential that we reach them and key populations -- including gay men, men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, sex workers, and prisoners – and their partners -- with new and existing prevention technologies by making them more widely available, accessible and affordable.  In addition to improving global HIV prevention response, we must eliminate barriers including stigma, discriminatory laws, denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights, criminalization, and punitive approaches that cause harm and negatively impact people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. We must also encourage supportive policies for HIV self-testing, and we must invest in and expand access to innovative prevention and treatment options such as long-acting injectable PrEP and long-acting injectable treatment.  All individuals have a right to make decisions about their bodies and to access the services they need to live a healthy and productive life. IPPF, through its member associations (MAs), is committed to offering all clients integrated sexual and reproductive health services, in a welcoming, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environment. As part of our new 2028 Strategy: Come Together, we outline the importance of accelerating integration of HIV and SRHR care.  Investments in developing and rolling out new technologies that protect against pregnancy and HIV, such as the Dual Prevention pill, are key to reducing HIV globally.   IPPF and our MAs will continue to join forces with technical experts and community and youth-led organizations working at every level of society — globally, nationally, and locally – to eradicate AIDS for good.   

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Technical Brief: Fulfilling the sexual and reproductive rights of women living with HIV, preventing coerced and forced sterilization

The purpose of this technical brief is to promote gender-transformative, rights-based and scientifically accurate information for advocacy and service-delivery to fulfil the sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and people who have the capacity to become pregnant, who are living with HIV.  In doing so, we also aim to provide sufficient evidence to prevent sexual and reproductive rights violations, especially coerced and/or forced sterilization against those living with HIV. The technical brief documents that coerced and/or forced sterilization of women living with HIV is a persistent and serious human rights violation requiring urgent action. The brief reviews components of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery and international medical guidance to uphold and fulfil the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV to choose if and when to have children.  This brief is primarily intended to inform IPPF Member Associations, secretariat staff, and partners including other SRH service delivery organizations and stakeholders. The brief reinforces IPPF’s position and commitment to person-centred and rights-based HIV care that is integrated within a comprehensive package of SRH services. Download the technical brief below in English or Spanish. 

Illustration of STIs
03 September 2021

STIs: Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the medical term for inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by liver damage by drinking alcohol or through viral infections which and can be transmitted through sexual activity.   There are various types of viral hepatitis, but only hepatitis A, B, and C can be transmitted through unprotected sexual activity. Hepatitis A virus can be passed on through unprotected anal or oral sex as it is present in the poo of an infected person. The hepatitis B virus is found in the blood and bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids of an infected person and can be passed on during unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex, pregnancy, and sharing needles to inject drugs. The hepatitis C virus is mostly transmitted through the blood of an infected person, with sexual transmission possible, but not common.  Symptoms   It can be common for hepatitis to have no noticeable symptoms, so you may not be aware that you have it. However, early signs can include flu-like symptoms such as:  Muscle and joint pain   Headaches  Feeling sick  High temperature   Feeling tired   Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)  Some types of hepatitis can pass without affecting the liver, while others may become chronic lasting for years or may cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). Chronic hepatitis symptoms include:   Constant tiredness  Jaundice  Depression   Generally feeling unwell  Testing   To test for hepatitis a healthcare provider will take a blood sample to test that will indicate if your immune system is trying to fight the virus. Your liver function may also be tested through an ultrasound scan or a liver biopsy (a sample of liver tissue is collected for testing).   If you test positive for hepatitis your healthcare provider may prescribe antiviral medication. If your test is positive for hepatitis C you will be referred to a specialist for treatment options. Treatment can be more effective the sooner it is started.   Treatment   For many types of hepatitis there is no treatment, however symptoms can be managed with antiviral medication or painkillers such as ibuprofen. Resting and staying hydrated are important, especially resting the liver by avoiding drinking alcohol.   It's important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners you have had are also tested and treated.  Prevention  There are several ways to reduce the risk of infection and protect yourself and your sexual partners from hepatitis. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination, but not hepatitis C. Often a combined vaccine for hepatitis A and B is available, however recommended vaccination differs country-by-country. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against hepatitis and other STIs.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (commonly known as HIV) is a virus that damages the body’s immune system so it cannot fight off infections. It is preventable and treatable, but not curable. Anyone can get and transmit HIV.   HIV lives in the blood and some bodily fluids (semen, including pre-cum, and vaginal fluids). HIV can be transmitted through:  Vaginal or anal sex without a condom  Oral sex without a condom (although this is rare)  Sharing sex toys without washing them or covering them with a condom with each use  Use of unsterile injecting equipment   If you are living with HIV, it can also be transmitted during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.   Bodily fluids such as urine, sweat or saliva do not contain enough of the virus to infect another person. You cannot get HIV from casual contact such as kissing or hugging.  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (commonly known as AIDS) is an advanced stage of HIV infection, when your immune system is damaged and weakens your ability to fight common infections. However, with early diagnosis and effective treatment, most people with HIV will not develop AIDS.  Symptoms   Most people with HIV will experience signs seroconversion, a short, two-week illness soon after getting the virus. Seroconversion can feel like a flu (with sore throat, fever, tiredness, achy joints, swollen glands and a rash), and in some cases it could be severe enough to put you in hospital. However, a small number of people will not experience any noticeable signs or symptoms.   After seroconversion, a person with HIV may not have symptoms for many years and might look and feel well, but the virus will be multiplying in their body, causing progressive weakening of the immune system. Following this period, symptoms may include weight loss, persistent diarrhoea, night sweats, and infections that keep returning.  Testing   The earlier that someone with HIV gets a diagnosis, the more likely it can be treated so it is important to get tested if you think you may have been exposed to HIV. Delaying testing and treatment will allow the virus to weaken your immune system. It also means you could pass the virus to someone else.  HIV can’t be tested until at least four weeks after exposure to the virus, with more accurate results if the test is done six weeks after exposure to the virus. However, most tests do not detect the virus itself but the antibodies that your body has developed to fight it and are most accurate after twelve weeks.  Testing for HIV involves taking a small sample of blood for analysis. The test is either sent away to a laboratory and results come back in a few days, or same-day tests can give an instant result. It is also possible to test a saliva sample or to test blood taken from pricking the finger.   In some places, you may be able to do the test by yourself in the privacy of your home or another convenient place. If the test is ‘reactive’, you will need to visit a healthcare provider for further testing to confirm whether you have HIV and require treatment.   Treatment   It is recommended that all people with HIV start treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. In some places, you may receive regular blood tests to check how your immune system is coping and will only recommend treatment if the cells in your blood that fight infection have dropped below a certain level.  The treatment helps to manage the balance between the levels of HIV in your blood and the infection-fighting cells that your immune system has produced to fight it. It is treated with drugs called antiretrovirals – they work by stopping the HIV multiplying, allowing the immune system a chance to repair itself.  A combination of antiretrovirals is used because HIV can quickly adapt and become resistant to them. The combination that is most effective will be unique to each person. These drugs will suppress the amount of virus in the body, stop the progression of infection, and prevent transmission of HIV to others.  Prevention  There are several ways to reduce the risk of infection and protect yourself and your sexual partners from HIV. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against HIV and other STIs.   There is also a medicine called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for people who do not have HIV. PrEP is taken before sex and can reduce the risk of HIV transmission when it is taken correctly. PrEP can be used as a way to reduce your risk of HIV if you are HIV negative and don’t always use condoms.  It is important to remember that PrEP will not protect you from other STIs, and you should wear a condom every time you have sex (whether it is anal, oral or vaginal).  If you think you may have already been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours (three days), it is also possible to take anti-HIV medication called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which may stop you becoming infected.  PEP is a 28-day treatment of powerful drugs and is not guaranteed to work. It is often recommended if you are at high-risk of exposure (for example, if a partner is known to be HIV positive).  It's also a good idea to get tested before each new sexual partner or every three to six months.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are small growths or bumps that appear on or around the genital or anal area.  There are over 100 different types of HPV which can affect different parts of the body. About 30 different types of HPV can affect the genital skin, but 90% of genital warts are caused by two types of the virus – types 6 and 11.  The most common way for HPV to be passed on is through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus. Genital warts can be passed on even if they are not visible. Most commonly, this is through sexual activity, such as vaginal, anal and oral sex, non-penetrative genital-to-genital contact, and sharing sex toys.   HPV is not passed on by casual contact such as kissing or hugging.  Symptoms  Genital warts are normally painless but, in some people, they can be itchy and become inflamed, which may cause a little bleeding. They can either appear on their own or in clusters. The most common places for them to appear are:  Around the opening of the vagina (vulva)  Around the cervix (the neck of the womb)  Inside the vagina  Around or inside the anus  On the upper thighs  Anywhere on the penis  On the scrotum  Inside the urethra (where urine comes out) in people with a penis   Testing If you suspect you or a sexual partner have genital warts, see your healthcare provider for a medical examination. Testing is usually not required for genital warts, but it is easy for a healthcare provider to diagnose by examining the area. In some cases, they may need to perform a more detailed examination in order to see if there are warts inside the vagina or anus.  Treatment    If you have visible genital warts, the two main types of treatment are:  applying cream or lotion to the warts  destroying the tissue of the warts by freezing, heating or removing them  Unfortunately, wart creams that are available over the counter will not be effective as because they are designed to only treat warts on the hands or verrucas.   The type of treatment you are offered depends on the warts. You should tell the healthcare provider if you are pregnant or if there is a risk of pregnancy as this may affect the type of treatment they are offered.  For some people it can take months for the treatment to work and for the warts to disappear.  It is recommended that you avoid having sex until your genital warts have fully healed. Not only will this help to ensure you don’t pass it on to others, but it may also help you recover more quickly.  Over time, genital warts will go away without treatment but if left untreated, they may also grow larger or multiply. They are rarely harmful to your health, but genital warts can be unpleasant and may cause discomfort.  Prevention   When used correctly and consistently, condoms can help protect you from HPV but may still be passed on by the surrounding genital areas coming into contact with the virus.  The HPV vaccine can protect against genital warts and types of HPV that can cause cancer, so it is worth checking if you are eligible to receive this.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacteria called treponema pallidum and is easily passed from one person to another through vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom and sharing sex toys without washing them or covering them with a condom with each use.  Syphilis can also be passed to babies during pregnancy but can be treated. If left untreated it can cause complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage or stillbirth. During pregnancy, you should be tested for syphilis as part of ante-natal screening.  Syphilis can also be passed on if you are an injecting drug user and you share a needle with someone who is infected.  You cannot get syphilis from casual contact such as kissing or hugging.  While syphilis is less common than other STIs (such as chlamydia), it is on the rise. It can be cured if treated early.   Symptoms   Anyone can get syphilis and the symptoms are usually mild, which may lead to some people ignoring them. Unless someone with syphilis is treated, they can pass syphilis on for up to two years after infection. The symptoms develop in three stages:  Stage one: primary syphilis  The first symptom is often a singular, small, painless – but highly infectious – sore called a chancre, which may appear two to four weeks after being exposed to the bacteria. The chancre will normally appear on the area where the infection entered the body such as the vagina, penis or anus. It may also appear on your lips, tonsils, hands or buttocks.  The sore usually heals and disappears after two to six weeks, so it may be tempting to ignore it, but syphilis can still be transmitted during this stage. If left untreated the bacteria can also spread to other parts of the body and the infection moves onto the second stage.  Stage two: secondary syphilis  This stage often begins a few weeks after the chancre has disappeared. Even without the chancre, syphilis is still infectious and can be passed on. A common symptom is a non-itchy rash, often on the palms or soles of your feet. Other symptoms may include flu-like symptoms (such as headaches, fever, joint pain and tiredness), swollen glands in your neck, armpits or groin, weight loss, and patchy hair loss.   These symptoms may disappear after a few weeks or can come and go over a period of weeks or months. When the symptoms have disappeared, you move into the latent (hidden) phase. This stage can last for years.  Stage three: tertiary syphilis  While serious, it is rare for people to reach this stage. It can develop years or even decades after the first infection, and the symptoms will depend on where the infection has spread to. Syphilis at this stage can be dangerous enough to cause death.  Testing   Testing for syphilis is often done by taking a blood sample. When the body’s immune system reacts to syphilis, it produces antibodies (infection-fighting proteins), and the blood test looks for those antibodies. However, these antibodies may not be detectable until three months after infection. If you have been diagnosed and treated for syphilis previously, additional blood tests may be required as these antibodies will stay in your body.  Your healthcare provider may also perform an examination to look for the signs of syphilis. This may include an internal examination of the vagina and possibly of the anus. They may also look in your mouth and throat for skin rashes.  If you have a sore (or chancre) then the healthcare provider may take a swab to collect a sample of the fluid. Taking the swab should not be painful. This will then be sent to a lab for testing.  Treatment   Syphilis is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection or a course of injections. This treatment is very effective for both first and second stage syphilis and should cure it.   Syphilis can also be treated and cured in the latent and third stages, but treatment may not reverse damage that has already been done to your body.  You should avoid having vaginal, anal or oral sex and any skin contact until you have been given the all-clear, to prevent you being re-infected or passing the infection on.  If possible, it is important that you tell any recent sexual partners that you are being treated for syphilis, so that they can get tested and treated if they also have infection.  Prevention   The best way to prevent the transmission of syphilis is to use contraception such as condoms every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and by avoiding sharing sex toys. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against syphilis and other STIs (including HIV).   It's also a good idea to get tested before each new sexual partner or every three to six months.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Pubic lice

Pubic lice are very small, crab-like parasitic insects – which is why they are sometimes called ‘crabs’. Pubic lice are not necessarily sexually transmitted but live on pubic hair and are passed on through close body contact, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex.   Having pubic lice is in no way a sign of poor hygiene. As well as close body contact, they might also be passed on by sharing towels and bed linen (though this is much less common as lice can only survive for around 24-48 hours if not in contact with the human body).  Pubic lice cannot jump like fleas or fly, and they cannot transmit HIV or other STIs. They are different to head lice and do not live in the hair on your head. They prefer coarser and more widely spaced hair.  Symptoms  Pubic lice can take a few weeks to appear so you may not notice them immediately or have any symptoms. When they do appear, they are tiny (approximately 2mm) and difficult to see. If you can see them, they are six-legged, with two larger legs like claws.   They are often yellow-grey or red in colour and they attach their eggs to the base of the hair. The eggs are pale brown in colour and the empty egg sacs are white.  Other signs and symptoms include:  Itching in the affected areas   Black powder in your underwear (this is the droppings from the lice)  Brown eggs on pubic or other body hair  Irritation and inflammation in the affected area (sometimes caused by scratching)  Sky-blue spots or very tiny specks of blood on the skin (caused by lice bites)  As well as pubic hair, they may also be found on underarm, leg, back or facial hair  Although less common, eyelashes and eyebrows can also be affected   Testing If you suspect you or a sexual partner may have pubic lice, see your healthcare provider for a medical examination. There is no test for pubic lice, but it is easy for a healthcare provider to diagnose by examining the areas with a magnifying glass. They will be looking for the lice and their eggs.  Treatment  Pubic lice will not go away without treatment and are likely to be passed to someone else. Treatment can be done at home using special types of insecticide lotions, creams or shampoo, which you may be able to get on prescription or over the counter at a pharmacy. Shaving your pubic hair will not get rid of pubic lice.  If left untreated, the lice may spread to other parts of the body. The side effects can also cause other skin irritations and infections.   You should return to your healthcare provider if the treatment doesn’t work – sometimes pubic lice can develop a resistance to the treatment.  Ensure that anyone you have had close body contact with is treated too – as well as anyone you live with and wait until you have all finished treatment before resuming close contact. Avoid having vaginal, anal or oral sex until you and your partner have finished treatment and any follow-up treatment.  You should also wash your sheets and towels at 50° Celsius (122° Fahrenheit) or higher to kill off the lice and their eggs.  Prevention  Unfortunately, condoms will not protect you from pubic lice. The best way to prevent pubic lice infestation is to avoid sexual contact or sharing bedding or clothing with anyone who has an infestation.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention 

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis (TV) and infects the vagina and urethra.   The infection is most often passed on through having vaginal sex without a condom, but also by sharing sex toys without washing or covering with a condom.   You cannot get trichomoniasis through casual contact such hugging or kissing.   Symptoms  Many people with trichomoniasis will not experience any symptoms, and when they do develop, they can be confused with other STIs. Symptoms usually start to appear within a month of coming into contact with the infection.   For people with a vagina, symptoms can include:   Vaginal itching, swelling, and soreness  Pain during sex and when peeing  An unusual discharge which appears a yellow-green in colour  Itchy inner thighs   For people with a penis, symptoms can include:  Pain during ejaculation and when peeing  Thin, white discharge from the penis  Itchy, swollen, and sore penis  Needing to pee more frequently   Testing  It can be difficult to diagnose for trichomoniasis as the symptoms are very similar to other STIs.   During an examination a healthcare provider will look for red patches on the walls of the vagina and discharge, swelling, and soreness from the head of the penis.   They may also take a swab from your vagina or penis to test for the infection. This may be a bit uncomfortable but should not be painful. Samples may be tested during your appointment or sent off to a lab; the results can take up to a week to come back. Trichomoniasis can also be tested from the penis by taking a urine sample.   If there is a high chance that you have trichomoniasis (if your partner tested positive), you may be given treatment before your results are back. Even if your partner tested negative you could still be infected and should continue with the test.   Treatment   Trichomoniasis is easily treated with a course of antibiotics – usually metronidazole – over five to seven days. Although metronidazole is very effective it can make you feel sick and you should avoid alcohol, including for up to 48 hours after completing your course.    You should notice improvements quite quickly once you’ve started the course of antibiotics. However, you should go back to your healthcare provider who tested you if:   Your symptoms don’t improve within a week  You have unprotected sex   You had unprotected sex with your partner before completing the treatment   You vomited after taking the antibiotics  You dd not complete the treatment or follow the instructions  Your test was negative, but you develop symptoms   To prevent yourself from being re-infected or passing the infection on you should avoid having sex until you have been given the all-clear by your healthcare provider.   Prevention   There are several ways to reduce the risk of infection and protect yourself and your partners from trichomoniasis. You can help prevent the spread of trichomoniasis by:   using a condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex   covering the penis during oral sex with a condom or the female genitals with a latex or polyurethane square (dam)  avoiding sharing sex toys  covering your genitals with a dam if you're a woman and rub your vulva against your female partner's vulva  When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against STIs (including HIV).  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention 

カットされる資金援助があれば、IPPFは、27.5万人のHIV陽性の妊婦のケアができたことでしょう。
08 March 2017

Watch: What's the impact of the Global Gag Rule?

We calculated the human cost of the U.S. Global Gag Rule. The effects can be devastating for millions of poor and marginalised women.    WANT TO GET INVOLVED? SUBSCRIBE NOW TO GET UPDATES FROM IPPF SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH A DONATION

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

On 23 January 2017 President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule, or the Mexico City Policy.  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) believes in the right of every individual to decide about their own health and well-being.  As an organisation that seeks to protect and improve the lives of women, men and children around the world, IPPF and its partners in 170 countries will not sign a policy that denies human rights and puts the lives of women at risk.   The Global Gag Rule denies U.S. funding to organisations like IPPF if they use money from other donors to provide abortion services, counselling or referrals—even if abortion is legal in a country. It blocks critical funding for health services like contraception, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for any organisation that refuses to sign it. When it has been enacted by previous Republican Presidents, evidence has shown that the Global Gag Rule has not reduced the number of abortions; rather, by eliminating access to contraception, it has led to more unintended pregnancies and more unsafe abortions.     IPPF is the largest non-governmental provider of contraception in the world. It has worked with the U.S. government for decades. Our global network of local partners delivers more than 300 services every minute of every day, including 70 million contraceptive services every year.  The Global Gag Rule’s reinstatement will result in additional unintended pregnancies and countless other needless injuries and deaths. It means IPPF will lose $100 million USD for proven programs that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for millions of women and youth who otherwise go without these vital services, including women suffering the burden of health and humanitarian crises.  Over the years USAID has been a huge supporter of family planning – with a budget of over $600 million per year. Reinstatement will mean that years of progress to increase access to essential services globally, will be lost. We cannot—and will not—deny life-saving services to the world’s poorest women.  We will work with governments and donors to bridge the funding and service gaps the Global Gag Rule creates. We will ensure that women can exercise their rights and access safe abortion and family planning.  WANT TO GET INVOLVED? SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH A DONATION     Subscribe to our updates!

Moonlight Star Project: RHU/Fortunate Kagumaho/Uganda
01 December 2022

World Aids Day: Innovations in HIV prevention technologies spark hope

In the 41 years since AIDS was first discovered in 1981, extraordinary progress has been made in the global response to HIV. Deaths caused by acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) - a condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - have been reduced by 68% since the peak in 2004. Improvements in treatment options have helped ensure people with HIV can live long and productive lives. New technologies to prevent HIV transmission mean people have more options for pleasurable sex with reduced risk of acquiring HIV.   But there is still a long way to go. In recent years, global progress towards eliminating HIV has slowed and funding has decreased. In 2021, 1.5 million new people were diagnosed with HIV; a total of 38.4 million people currently live with HIV globally.  Fortunately, important innovations in HIV prevention technologies have sparked hope that the global AIDS response can get closer to its targets for ending the pandemic. We need to increase access and affordability to these technologies while continuing to invest in new ways to prevent transmission, expand testing, and treat patients.  HIV prevention technologies to know about  The toolkit for technologies to prevent HIV transmission is expanding. In addition to the condom, which reduces transmission of HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections, and prevents pregnancy, we now have multiple ways to prevent HIV transmission.  Prevention of Perinatal Transmission uses Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to reduce transmission from a woman with HIV to her fetus during pregnancy, and from a woman to her infant during childbirth and breastfeeding.  Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) uses ARVs to reduce transmission when someone without HIV has had a possible exposure to HIV. PEP should be used in emergency situations and be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.  Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is used to reduce heterosexual transmission in men who do not have HIV.   A variety of new and existing forms of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) also need to be made available, accessible, and affordable to all.   Oral PrEP uses ARVs to help people who do not have HIV reduce their risk of acquiring HIV. PrEP was first recommended by the WHO in 2012. While over 3 million people have initiated oral PrEP globally since then, many more people need access to this highly effective method of HIV prevention.   Dapivirine Vaginal Ring is a ring that is placed in the vagina and contains ARVs to reduce sexual transmission of HIV for women. The ARVs are slowly released over the course of a month; a new ring is inserted for each month that a woman wants to reduce her risk of acquiring HIV. It was recommended by the WHO in January 2021 and has received regulatory approval in Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It is currently under regulatory review in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Long-acting Injectable PrEP using Cabotegravir-LA is a new form of PrEP that is injected intramuscularly every two months to prevent HIV. It was recommended by the WHO in 2022 and has received regulatory approval in Australia, the United States, and Zimbabwe. It is currently under regulatory review in Botswana, Brazil, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda.  Equalizing access for all  Adolescent girls and women account for 49% of new infections globally and 63% of new infections in sub-Saharan Africa. It is essential that we reach them and key populations -- including gay men, men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, sex workers, and prisoners – and their partners -- with new and existing prevention technologies by making them more widely available, accessible and affordable.  In addition to improving global HIV prevention response, we must eliminate barriers including stigma, discriminatory laws, denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights, criminalization, and punitive approaches that cause harm and negatively impact people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. We must also encourage supportive policies for HIV self-testing, and we must invest in and expand access to innovative prevention and treatment options such as long-acting injectable PrEP and long-acting injectable treatment.  All individuals have a right to make decisions about their bodies and to access the services they need to live a healthy and productive life. IPPF, through its member associations (MAs), is committed to offering all clients integrated sexual and reproductive health services, in a welcoming, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environment. As part of our new 2028 Strategy: Come Together, we outline the importance of accelerating integration of HIV and SRHR care.  Investments in developing and rolling out new technologies that protect against pregnancy and HIV, such as the Dual Prevention pill, are key to reducing HIV globally.   IPPF and our MAs will continue to join forces with technical experts and community and youth-led organizations working at every level of society — globally, nationally, and locally – to eradicate AIDS for good.   

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Technical Brief: Fulfilling the sexual and reproductive rights of women living with HIV, preventing coerced and forced sterilization

The purpose of this technical brief is to promote gender-transformative, rights-based and scientifically accurate information for advocacy and service-delivery to fulfil the sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and people who have the capacity to become pregnant, who are living with HIV.  In doing so, we also aim to provide sufficient evidence to prevent sexual and reproductive rights violations, especially coerced and/or forced sterilization against those living with HIV. The technical brief documents that coerced and/or forced sterilization of women living with HIV is a persistent and serious human rights violation requiring urgent action. The brief reviews components of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery and international medical guidance to uphold and fulfil the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV to choose if and when to have children.  This brief is primarily intended to inform IPPF Member Associations, secretariat staff, and partners including other SRH service delivery organizations and stakeholders. The brief reinforces IPPF’s position and commitment to person-centred and rights-based HIV care that is integrated within a comprehensive package of SRH services. Download the technical brief below in English or Spanish. 

Illustration of STIs
03 September 2021

STIs: Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the medical term for inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by liver damage by drinking alcohol or through viral infections which and can be transmitted through sexual activity.   There are various types of viral hepatitis, but only hepatitis A, B, and C can be transmitted through unprotected sexual activity. Hepatitis A virus can be passed on through unprotected anal or oral sex as it is present in the poo of an infected person. The hepatitis B virus is found in the blood and bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids of an infected person and can be passed on during unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex, pregnancy, and sharing needles to inject drugs. The hepatitis C virus is mostly transmitted through the blood of an infected person, with sexual transmission possible, but not common.  Symptoms   It can be common for hepatitis to have no noticeable symptoms, so you may not be aware that you have it. However, early signs can include flu-like symptoms such as:  Muscle and joint pain   Headaches  Feeling sick  High temperature   Feeling tired   Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)  Some types of hepatitis can pass without affecting the liver, while others may become chronic lasting for years or may cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). Chronic hepatitis symptoms include:   Constant tiredness  Jaundice  Depression   Generally feeling unwell  Testing   To test for hepatitis a healthcare provider will take a blood sample to test that will indicate if your immune system is trying to fight the virus. Your liver function may also be tested through an ultrasound scan or a liver biopsy (a sample of liver tissue is collected for testing).   If you test positive for hepatitis your healthcare provider may prescribe antiviral medication. If your test is positive for hepatitis C you will be referred to a specialist for treatment options. Treatment can be more effective the sooner it is started.   Treatment   For many types of hepatitis there is no treatment, however symptoms can be managed with antiviral medication or painkillers such as ibuprofen. Resting and staying hydrated are important, especially resting the liver by avoiding drinking alcohol.   It's important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners you have had are also tested and treated.  Prevention  There are several ways to reduce the risk of infection and protect yourself and your sexual partners from hepatitis. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination, but not hepatitis C. Often a combined vaccine for hepatitis A and B is available, however recommended vaccination differs country-by-country. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against hepatitis and other STIs.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (commonly known as HIV) is a virus that damages the body’s immune system so it cannot fight off infections. It is preventable and treatable, but not curable. Anyone can get and transmit HIV.   HIV lives in the blood and some bodily fluids (semen, including pre-cum, and vaginal fluids). HIV can be transmitted through:  Vaginal or anal sex without a condom  Oral sex without a condom (although this is rare)  Sharing sex toys without washing them or covering them with a condom with each use  Use of unsterile injecting equipment   If you are living with HIV, it can also be transmitted during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.   Bodily fluids such as urine, sweat or saliva do not contain enough of the virus to infect another person. You cannot get HIV from casual contact such as kissing or hugging.  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (commonly known as AIDS) is an advanced stage of HIV infection, when your immune system is damaged and weakens your ability to fight common infections. However, with early diagnosis and effective treatment, most people with HIV will not develop AIDS.  Symptoms   Most people with HIV will experience signs seroconversion, a short, two-week illness soon after getting the virus. Seroconversion can feel like a flu (with sore throat, fever, tiredness, achy joints, swollen glands and a rash), and in some cases it could be severe enough to put you in hospital. However, a small number of people will not experience any noticeable signs or symptoms.   After seroconversion, a person with HIV may not have symptoms for many years and might look and feel well, but the virus will be multiplying in their body, causing progressive weakening of the immune system. Following this period, symptoms may include weight loss, persistent diarrhoea, night sweats, and infections that keep returning.  Testing   The earlier that someone with HIV gets a diagnosis, the more likely it can be treated so it is important to get tested if you think you may have been exposed to HIV. Delaying testing and treatment will allow the virus to weaken your immune system. It also means you could pass the virus to someone else.  HIV can’t be tested until at least four weeks after exposure to the virus, with more accurate results if the test is done six weeks after exposure to the virus. However, most tests do not detect the virus itself but the antibodies that your body has developed to fight it and are most accurate after twelve weeks.  Testing for HIV involves taking a small sample of blood for analysis. The test is either sent away to a laboratory and results come back in a few days, or same-day tests can give an instant result. It is also possible to test a saliva sample or to test blood taken from pricking the finger.   In some places, you may be able to do the test by yourself in the privacy of your home or another convenient place. If the test is ‘reactive’, you will need to visit a healthcare provider for further testing to confirm whether you have HIV and require treatment.   Treatment   It is recommended that all people with HIV start treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. In some places, you may receive regular blood tests to check how your immune system is coping and will only recommend treatment if the cells in your blood that fight infection have dropped below a certain level.  The treatment helps to manage the balance between the levels of HIV in your blood and the infection-fighting cells that your immune system has produced to fight it. It is treated with drugs called antiretrovirals – they work by stopping the HIV multiplying, allowing the immune system a chance to repair itself.  A combination of antiretrovirals is used because HIV can quickly adapt and become resistant to them. The combination that is most effective will be unique to each person. These drugs will suppress the amount of virus in the body, stop the progression of infection, and prevent transmission of HIV to others.  Prevention  There are several ways to reduce the risk of infection and protect yourself and your sexual partners from HIV. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against HIV and other STIs.   There is also a medicine called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for people who do not have HIV. PrEP is taken before sex and can reduce the risk of HIV transmission when it is taken correctly. PrEP can be used as a way to reduce your risk of HIV if you are HIV negative and don’t always use condoms.  It is important to remember that PrEP will not protect you from other STIs, and you should wear a condom every time you have sex (whether it is anal, oral or vaginal).  If you think you may have already been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours (three days), it is also possible to take anti-HIV medication called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which may stop you becoming infected.  PEP is a 28-day treatment of powerful drugs and is not guaranteed to work. It is often recommended if you are at high-risk of exposure (for example, if a partner is known to be HIV positive).  It's also a good idea to get tested before each new sexual partner or every three to six months.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are small growths or bumps that appear on or around the genital or anal area.  There are over 100 different types of HPV which can affect different parts of the body. About 30 different types of HPV can affect the genital skin, but 90% of genital warts are caused by two types of the virus – types 6 and 11.  The most common way for HPV to be passed on is through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus. Genital warts can be passed on even if they are not visible. Most commonly, this is through sexual activity, such as vaginal, anal and oral sex, non-penetrative genital-to-genital contact, and sharing sex toys.   HPV is not passed on by casual contact such as kissing or hugging.  Symptoms  Genital warts are normally painless but, in some people, they can be itchy and become inflamed, which may cause a little bleeding. They can either appear on their own or in clusters. The most common places for them to appear are:  Around the opening of the vagina (vulva)  Around the cervix (the neck of the womb)  Inside the vagina  Around or inside the anus  On the upper thighs  Anywhere on the penis  On the scrotum  Inside the urethra (where urine comes out) in people with a penis   Testing If you suspect you or a sexual partner have genital warts, see your healthcare provider for a medical examination. Testing is usually not required for genital warts, but it is easy for a healthcare provider to diagnose by examining the area. In some cases, they may need to perform a more detailed examination in order to see if there are warts inside the vagina or anus.  Treatment    If you have visible genital warts, the two main types of treatment are:  applying cream or lotion to the warts  destroying the tissue of the warts by freezing, heating or removing them  Unfortunately, wart creams that are available over the counter will not be effective as because they are designed to only treat warts on the hands or verrucas.   The type of treatment you are offered depends on the warts. You should tell the healthcare provider if you are pregnant or if there is a risk of pregnancy as this may affect the type of treatment they are offered.  For some people it can take months for the treatment to work and for the warts to disappear.  It is recommended that you avoid having sex until your genital warts have fully healed. Not only will this help to ensure you don’t pass it on to others, but it may also help you recover more quickly.  Over time, genital warts will go away without treatment but if left untreated, they may also grow larger or multiply. They are rarely harmful to your health, but genital warts can be unpleasant and may cause discomfort.  Prevention   When used correctly and consistently, condoms can help protect you from HPV but may still be passed on by the surrounding genital areas coming into contact with the virus.  The HPV vaccine can protect against genital warts and types of HPV that can cause cancer, so it is worth checking if you are eligible to receive this.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacteria called treponema pallidum and is easily passed from one person to another through vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom and sharing sex toys without washing them or covering them with a condom with each use.  Syphilis can also be passed to babies during pregnancy but can be treated. If left untreated it can cause complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage or stillbirth. During pregnancy, you should be tested for syphilis as part of ante-natal screening.  Syphilis can also be passed on if you are an injecting drug user and you share a needle with someone who is infected.  You cannot get syphilis from casual contact such as kissing or hugging.  While syphilis is less common than other STIs (such as chlamydia), it is on the rise. It can be cured if treated early.   Symptoms   Anyone can get syphilis and the symptoms are usually mild, which may lead to some people ignoring them. Unless someone with syphilis is treated, they can pass syphilis on for up to two years after infection. The symptoms develop in three stages:  Stage one: primary syphilis  The first symptom is often a singular, small, painless – but highly infectious – sore called a chancre, which may appear two to four weeks after being exposed to the bacteria. The chancre will normally appear on the area where the infection entered the body such as the vagina, penis or anus. It may also appear on your lips, tonsils, hands or buttocks.  The sore usually heals and disappears after two to six weeks, so it may be tempting to ignore it, but syphilis can still be transmitted during this stage. If left untreated the bacteria can also spread to other parts of the body and the infection moves onto the second stage.  Stage two: secondary syphilis  This stage often begins a few weeks after the chancre has disappeared. Even without the chancre, syphilis is still infectious and can be passed on. A common symptom is a non-itchy rash, often on the palms or soles of your feet. Other symptoms may include flu-like symptoms (such as headaches, fever, joint pain and tiredness), swollen glands in your neck, armpits or groin, weight loss, and patchy hair loss.   These symptoms may disappear after a few weeks or can come and go over a period of weeks or months. When the symptoms have disappeared, you move into the latent (hidden) phase. This stage can last for years.  Stage three: tertiary syphilis  While serious, it is rare for people to reach this stage. It can develop years or even decades after the first infection, and the symptoms will depend on where the infection has spread to. Syphilis at this stage can be dangerous enough to cause death.  Testing   Testing for syphilis is often done by taking a blood sample. When the body’s immune system reacts to syphilis, it produces antibodies (infection-fighting proteins), and the blood test looks for those antibodies. However, these antibodies may not be detectable until three months after infection. If you have been diagnosed and treated for syphilis previously, additional blood tests may be required as these antibodies will stay in your body.  Your healthcare provider may also perform an examination to look for the signs of syphilis. This may include an internal examination of the vagina and possibly of the anus. They may also look in your mouth and throat for skin rashes.  If you have a sore (or chancre) then the healthcare provider may take a swab to collect a sample of the fluid. Taking the swab should not be painful. This will then be sent to a lab for testing.  Treatment   Syphilis is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection or a course of injections. This treatment is very effective for both first and second stage syphilis and should cure it.   Syphilis can also be treated and cured in the latent and third stages, but treatment may not reverse damage that has already been done to your body.  You should avoid having vaginal, anal or oral sex and any skin contact until you have been given the all-clear, to prevent you being re-infected or passing the infection on.  If possible, it is important that you tell any recent sexual partners that you are being treated for syphilis, so that they can get tested and treated if they also have infection.  Prevention   The best way to prevent the transmission of syphilis is to use contraception such as condoms every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and by avoiding sharing sex toys. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against syphilis and other STIs (including HIV).   It's also a good idea to get tested before each new sexual partner or every three to six months.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Pubic lice

Pubic lice are very small, crab-like parasitic insects – which is why they are sometimes called ‘crabs’. Pubic lice are not necessarily sexually transmitted but live on pubic hair and are passed on through close body contact, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex.   Having pubic lice is in no way a sign of poor hygiene. As well as close body contact, they might also be passed on by sharing towels and bed linen (though this is much less common as lice can only survive for around 24-48 hours if not in contact with the human body).  Pubic lice cannot jump like fleas or fly, and they cannot transmit HIV or other STIs. They are different to head lice and do not live in the hair on your head. They prefer coarser and more widely spaced hair.  Symptoms  Pubic lice can take a few weeks to appear so you may not notice them immediately or have any symptoms. When they do appear, they are tiny (approximately 2mm) and difficult to see. If you can see them, they are six-legged, with two larger legs like claws.   They are often yellow-grey or red in colour and they attach their eggs to the base of the hair. The eggs are pale brown in colour and the empty egg sacs are white.  Other signs and symptoms include:  Itching in the affected areas   Black powder in your underwear (this is the droppings from the lice)  Brown eggs on pubic or other body hair  Irritation and inflammation in the affected area (sometimes caused by scratching)  Sky-blue spots or very tiny specks of blood on the skin (caused by lice bites)  As well as pubic hair, they may also be found on underarm, leg, back or facial hair  Although less common, eyelashes and eyebrows can also be affected   Testing If you suspect you or a sexual partner may have pubic lice, see your healthcare provider for a medical examination. There is no test for pubic lice, but it is easy for a healthcare provider to diagnose by examining the areas with a magnifying glass. They will be looking for the lice and their eggs.  Treatment  Pubic lice will not go away without treatment and are likely to be passed to someone else. Treatment can be done at home using special types of insecticide lotions, creams or shampoo, which you may be able to get on prescription or over the counter at a pharmacy. Shaving your pubic hair will not get rid of pubic lice.  If left untreated, the lice may spread to other parts of the body. The side effects can also cause other skin irritations and infections.   You should return to your healthcare provider if the treatment doesn’t work – sometimes pubic lice can develop a resistance to the treatment.  Ensure that anyone you have had close body contact with is treated too – as well as anyone you live with and wait until you have all finished treatment before resuming close contact. Avoid having vaginal, anal or oral sex until you and your partner have finished treatment and any follow-up treatment.  You should also wash your sheets and towels at 50° Celsius (122° Fahrenheit) or higher to kill off the lice and their eggs.  Prevention  Unfortunately, condoms will not protect you from pubic lice. The best way to prevent pubic lice infestation is to avoid sexual contact or sharing bedding or clothing with anyone who has an infestation.  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention 

Illustration of STIs
02 September 2021

STIs: Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis (TV) and infects the vagina and urethra.   The infection is most often passed on through having vaginal sex without a condom, but also by sharing sex toys without washing or covering with a condom.   You cannot get trichomoniasis through casual contact such hugging or kissing.   Symptoms  Many people with trichomoniasis will not experience any symptoms, and when they do develop, they can be confused with other STIs. Symptoms usually start to appear within a month of coming into contact with the infection.   For people with a vagina, symptoms can include:   Vaginal itching, swelling, and soreness  Pain during sex and when peeing  An unusual discharge which appears a yellow-green in colour  Itchy inner thighs   For people with a penis, symptoms can include:  Pain during ejaculation and when peeing  Thin, white discharge from the penis  Itchy, swollen, and sore penis  Needing to pee more frequently   Testing  It can be difficult to diagnose for trichomoniasis as the symptoms are very similar to other STIs.   During an examination a healthcare provider will look for red patches on the walls of the vagina and discharge, swelling, and soreness from the head of the penis.   They may also take a swab from your vagina or penis to test for the infection. This may be a bit uncomfortable but should not be painful. Samples may be tested during your appointment or sent off to a lab; the results can take up to a week to come back. Trichomoniasis can also be tested from the penis by taking a urine sample.   If there is a high chance that you have trichomoniasis (if your partner tested positive), you may be given treatment before your results are back. Even if your partner tested negative you could still be infected and should continue with the test.   Treatment   Trichomoniasis is easily treated with a course of antibiotics – usually metronidazole – over five to seven days. Although metronidazole is very effective it can make you feel sick and you should avoid alcohol, including for up to 48 hours after completing your course.    You should notice improvements quite quickly once you’ve started the course of antibiotics. However, you should go back to your healthcare provider who tested you if:   Your symptoms don’t improve within a week  You have unprotected sex   You had unprotected sex with your partner before completing the treatment   You vomited after taking the antibiotics  You dd not complete the treatment or follow the instructions  Your test was negative, but you develop symptoms   To prevent yourself from being re-infected or passing the infection on you should avoid having sex until you have been given the all-clear by your healthcare provider.   Prevention   There are several ways to reduce the risk of infection and protect yourself and your partners from trichomoniasis. You can help prevent the spread of trichomoniasis by:   using a condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex   covering the penis during oral sex with a condom or the female genitals with a latex or polyurethane square (dam)  avoiding sharing sex toys  covering your genitals with a dam if you're a woman and rub your vulva against your female partner's vulva  When used correctly and consistently, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against STIs (including HIV).  Learn more about different types of STIs and their symptoms, treatment, and prevention