Is it possible for me to have trichomoniasis and not my partner?

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It is possible for only one partner in a relationship to be infected with trichomoniasis. Here are some quick answers to key questions about trichomoniasis:

What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite. It is spread through sexual contact and infects the urinary tract and genitals.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include itching, burning, redness, soreness, pain during urination and sex, and abnormal discharge in women. However, many people have no symptoms.

Can I have it without my partner having it?

Yes, it is possible for only one partner to be infected. The infection can persist for months or years in women.

How do I get tested?

Testing is done by exam, urinalysis, or vaginal swabs. A doctor can perform these tests and provide proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is the treatment?

Trichomoniasis can be cured with prescription antibiotic medication, usually metronidazole or tinidazole. Both partners should be treated to prevent reinfection.

How Trichomoniasis is Spread

Trichomoniasis is spread through sexual intercourse with an infected partner. The Trichomonas vaginalis parasite is passed from an infected person’s genitals or urinary tract to their partner’s genitals during penetrative sex.

The infection is more common in women, with over 3 million cases annually in the U.S. However, it can occur in both men and women. The parasite can survive in genital areas and be transmitted back and forth between sexual partners.

Importance of Partner Treatment

It is important that both partners get treated for trichomoniasis, even if only one has symptoms. The infected partner can pass it back to a treated partner through sex if both are not cured.

Some key facts:

  • Women can carry trich for months or years with no symptoms.
  • Men typically clear the infection within weeks without treatment.
  • Women must receive treatment to avoid spreading it back to male partners.

This is why it is crucial for both partners to receive medication, otherwise transmission can continue in a cycle if only one partner is treated.

Reasons Only One Partner May be Infected

There are several reasons why it is possible for just one partner to be infected with trichomoniasis while the other partner does not have the parasite.

Delayed Symptom Onset in Men

Symptoms typically appear in infected men within 5 to 28 days after exposure. But it can take longer in some cases. If a woman has trichomoniasis and passes it to a male partner, he may not develop symptoms for several weeks.

This means the woman could be infected and symptomatic, yet her male partner shows no symptoms initially. The infection may clear on its own in men, allowing the woman to carry trichomoniasis asymptomatically for an extended period.

Asymptomatic Carriage in Women

Women can be asymptomatic carriers of trichomoniasis. The parasitic infection may persist for months or even years in women without causing any noticeable symptoms.

Even though the woman is infected, she may not experience itching, discharge, or pain associated with trich. And her male partner may not contract the parasite through sexual activity.

Outside Sexual Contact

It is possible for one partner to contract trichomoniasis through a sexual encounter outside of the relationship with an infected person. They can then transmit it to their primary partner.

For example, if a man has unprotected sex with someone who has trich and he becomes infected, his regular partner may not have been exposed yet. This allows one infected partner to introduce trichomoniasis into the relationship.

Condoms Reduce Transmission

Correctly using condoms during sex decreases the risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections like trichomoniasis. If a partner infected with trich consistently uses protection, the other partner has less chance of contracting the parasite.

So condom use can prevent transmission to a partner, allowing one individual in a relationship to remain infected while the other does not get infected.

Diagnosing Trichomoniasis

It is advisable for both partners to get tested for trichomoniasis if one partner is diagnosed. Here are some common diagnostic tests used to detect this infection:

Microscopic Examination

A doctor can take a sample of genital discharge to view under a microscope. The Trichomonas vaginalis parasite can be visualized moving around if present.

Culture Testing

Culturing a discharge or urine sample in special media can grow the parasite over several days if trichomonas is present. This culture can then be examined under the microscope.

Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs)

NAATs, such as PCR tests, detect trichomonas DNA in urine or swab samples. These molecular tests provide sensitive detection of active infections.

Point-of-Care Tests

Rapid antigen tests performed in the doctor’s office provide results in about 30 minutes. These Immunochromatographic capillary flow dipstick tests detect trichomoniasis from genital swabs.

Test Sample Type Accuracy
Microscopic exam Discharge 50-70% sensitive
Culture Discharge or urine Up to 95% sensitive
NAAT Urine or swab 95-98% sensitive
Point-of-care antigen test Swab Around 85% sensitive

Follow-up Exams

If only one partner tests positive, the other partner should be retested about 3 weeks later to check for delayed trichomonas infection. Ongoing testing is important when only one individual is initially infected.

Treatment Options

It is crucial for both partners to receive trichomoniasis treatment, even if no symptoms are present. Treatment involves prescription anti-parasitic medication. Here are the most common options:


Metronidazole is the standard first-line oral treatment for trichomoniasis. The usual prescription is 2 grams in a single dose. Metronidazole eliminates infection in about 95% of cases with one round of treatment.


Tinidazole is another FDA-approved antibiotic medication used to successfully treat trichomoniasis. It is taken as a 2 gram single oral dose. Studies show cure rates of approximately 92% with tinidazole.

Treatment Regimens

The CDC recommends:

  • Metronidazole 2g orally in a single dose
  • OR Tinidazole 2g orally in a single dose
  • For HIV-positive patients, may need higher daily dose for 5-7 days

These regimens are very effective for curing trichomoniasis. Sexual partners should abstain from sex or use protection for at least 1 week until treatment is complete.

Resistant Infections

For cases of metronidazole-resistant trichomoniasis, the standard treatment is high-dose (5g) tinidazole daily for 14 days. This extended tinidazole regimen can successfully eliminate antibiotic-resistant trichomonas infections.


It is advisable for both partners to return for a test of cure about 3 weeks after treatment. This helps confirm the infection has cleared in both individuals.

Preventing Transmission

Using condoms consistently and correctly helps prevent the spread of trichomoniasis and other STIs. Even if only one partner is currently infected, condoms can block transmission.

Other Precautions

Additional ways to avoid transmitting trichomoniasis include:

  • Abstaining from sex until 7 days after treatment is finished for both partners
  • Avoiding shared sex toys
  • Cleaning genital areas before and after sex
  • Getting annual STI testing if sexually active

Mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner also eliminates the risk of contracting trichomoniasis. However, regular screening is advisable to detect any asymptomatic infections.


Trichomoniasis can sometimes lead to complications or increase susceptibility to other infections if left untreated, including:

  • Infertility
  • Low birth weight or preterm delivery in pregnant women
  • Infection after gynecologic surgery
  • Increased HIV transmission risk

Treating trichomoniasis reduces the likelihood of complications. This demonstrates the importance of testing and treating both partners if trichomonas is detected.

Key Points

To summarize some key facts about trichomoniasis:

  • Trichomoniasis is a common parasitic STI that infects the genital tract.
  • It is possible for only one sexual partner to be infected.
  • Women may carry trich asymptomatically for years.
  • Both partners require treatment to clear the infection.
  • Consistent condom use helps prevent transmission.
  • Regular STI testing is recommended for sexually active individuals.

Even if you test positive for trich while your partner tests negative, it is essential that you both complete full treatment regimens. This will eliminate the parasitic infection and prevent transmitting it back and forth.


In summary, it is definitely possible to have trichomoniasis yourself while your sexual partner does not have it. Reasons range from delayed symptom onset in men, to asymptomatic infection in women, to outside sexual contact.

If you are diagnosed with trichomonas, your partner should be evaluated and treated as well. Use condoms during treatment and for at least one week after completing medications. Both partners should follow-up with a test after treatment to confirm the infection has resolved.

With proper diagnosis, treatment, and preventive measures, cases of one infected partner can be managed effectively. Completing therapy, avoiding sex or using protection during treatment, and getting follow-up testing helps prevent spreading trich back to a partner if they initially test negative. Be sure to alert your partner about the infection so you can both receive care.

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