Little-known STI could increase the risk of cervical cancer

Study finds a little-known STI could increase the risk of cervical cancer

The Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV) infection could increase the risk of cervical cancer, according to a new study.

TV is a sexually transmitted infection that is spread by having unprotected sex or by sharing sex toys. It is caused by a tiny parasite and symptoms include pain when weeing, itchy or sore genitals, and abnormal discharge.

However, up to 85% of infections can be symptomless, meaning it can be difficult to diagnose or recognise TV. It’s believed that there are up to 190 million TV infections globally every year.

In the study, nearly 500,000 women were analysed across four continents, and the study found that 1.8% had TV. The TV infection damages cervical tissue, creating lesions and allowing a “favourable environment” for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) to flourish.

HPV is the name given to a group of viruses. It usually has no symptoms, but certain strains can cause genital warts and cancer. Of the 500,000 women analysed, the study found that those who had TV were 79% more likely to develop HPV.

It is important to know that having HPV does not necessarily mean that you will go on to develop cervical cancer, and 90% of HPV infections will clear up on their own within two years.

However, high-risk strains of HPV can develop into precancerous and cancerous cells. There are additional factors that can contribute to the risk of cervical cancer, such as using oral contraceptive drugs for more than five years, smoking, and having other sexually transmitted infections.

The importance of regular STI testing

TV and other STIs don’t always present symptoms, meaning individuals can remain infected for many years without knowing. If left untreated, the risk of spreading these infections increases and they may also cause complications including during pregnancy. The good news is that STIs such as TV can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

The best way to protect yourself from TV and other STIs is to always use a condom during intercourse and get tested regularly if having sex with new or casual partners, even if you are not showing any symptoms.

You can get free condoms at your local sexual health clinic and, if you’re under 25, you can also get them for free online. Regular testing for STIs is essential to maintain good sexual health.

It’s recommended that you test for STIs if:

  • you or your partner have any unusual symptoms
  • you’ve had unprotected sex with a new partner
  • you have another STI
  • a sexual partner tells you they have an STI

If your results show that an infection has been detected, you must contact your GP or local sexual health clinic as soon as possible for confirmatory testing, further guidance, and treatment options.

You should also abstain from sexual contact to avoid passing the infection(s) on to other people, and contact any sexual partners to inform them of the result.

If you are experiencing symptoms that are causing you severe pain or discomfort, or that require a face-to-face examination, we advise you to contact your GP or local sexual health clinic as soon as possible.

It’s easy to order a TV test online for just £95. As well as testing for Trichomoniasis (TV), this 7-panel test can also detect Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Mycoplasma genitalium, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma parvum (UTI) and Ureaplasma urealyticum (UTI).

Simply order your test and we will ship your kit out to you in discreet, plain packaging. The kit will contain everything you need to collect your samples and return them to our expert UK laboratory for analysis. Results will be emailed to you within 2 working days.

We also have a range of other STI testing kits including tests for Herpes, HIV and Syphilis.

For confidential advice on whether this test is right for you, contact our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email

Please note you must be at least 16 years of age to purchase a home STI test kit from AlphaBiolabs.

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Explore our full range of home STI tests, from just £29.