Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is a sexually transmitted parasite associated with multiple adverse outcomes in women. Estimating TV incidence is challenging because of its largely asymptomatic presentation.
Per-capita prevalence was estimated using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013 to 2018. Incidence was estimated using ordinary differential equations assuming static incidence at steady state and fit using Bayesian techniques. Model inputs included estimates of proportion of asymptomatic cases, natural clearance, and time to symptomatic treatment seeking. Posterior distributions were drawn, and uncertainty was reported, from 25th (Q1) to 75th (Q3) percentiles. Aggregated measures were estimated by combining component distributions.
Among 15- to 59-year-olds in 2018, the number of prevalent TV infections was 2.6 (Q1, 2.4; Q3, 2.7) million overall, 470,000 (Q1, 414,000; Q3, 530,000) among men, and 2.1 (Q1, 2.0; Q3, 2.2) million among women; the numbers of incident infections were 6.9 (Q1, 6.2; Q3, 7.6) million, 3.3 (Q1, 2.8; Q3, 3.8) million, and 3.5 (Q1, 3.1; Q3, 4.0) million among all persons, men, and women, respectively. Persons aged 15 to 24 years comprised 15.6% and 16.3% of all prevalent and incident infections, respectively; prevalence and incidence in both sexes increased with age. Incidences in both sexes were highly dependent on estimates of natural clearance, which were based on few data.
Prevalence and incidence of TV are substantial in the United States, particularly among those 25 years or older. Although estimated prevalence is higher in women, estimated incidence is similar in men and women. Data on key parameters of TV infection are limited; future research should focus on clarifying the natural history of TV.