July 12th, 2011

Trichomonas in the news

Here is sample secondary coverage of a study:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-12/sex-parasite-is-most-common-in-women-older-than-40-study-finds.html

"The study, of 7,593 U.S. women aged 18 to 89 in 28 states, showed an 8.3 percent overall infection rate among women." But the rate was a lot higher in the over 40 and over 50 brackets, probably because the disease is not one that is required for reporting and has not typically been screened for in many people. "Gen-Probe Inc. (GPRO) of San Diego manufactures a test for the disease now, she said. She was involved in the clinical trials for the test’s regulatory approval. The test was approved April 20 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration." Gen-Probe provided the tests but did not otherwise fund the study. Prior to this, the parasite had to be cultured and it wasn't an easy one to culture, either.

Much like HPV, trich has historically not been taken particularly seriously, because a lot of people have it and don't have obvious symptoms. However, much like HPV, once you start really looking, it turns out that this thing isn't that asymptomatic after all; it's just that the symptoms aren't necessarily attributed to the disease.

R. told me about coverage, and I had a whole series of questions, revolving around things like, hey, men must get this, too and if condoms can prevent it then it's in the semen and if it's in the semen then it is going to cause all kinds of other problems. If this thing can cause PID in women and epididymitis in men, then this could be significant contributor to otherwise unexplained infertility/low sperm count.

Sure enough, people have been trying to get some attention on the trich/epididymitis under/mis diagnosis problem _since the year I was born_.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1048476/

Bet it takes a minimum of 18 months and more like 2-5 years before we see news coverage of that "discovery".

ETA: To be fair, this is covered by people hawking cures for trich:

http://www.tindamax.com/For_Patients/Trichomoniasis/Condition-Symptoms.aspx

ETAYA: And the fertility community has at least some awareness of the problem:

http://www.fertilitysolution.com/Latest-Research/Trichomoniasis-and-Infertility.html

ETA Still More:

The treatment for trich is the same as the treatment for a bunch of other parasites
(like giardia). There are some very real problems with the treatment. While those problems are quite minor when compared to symptomatic giardia, they are _not_ minor when compared to "asymptomatic" trich. If we start screening, detecting and treating trich in a lot of "asymptomatic" people (which I'm prepared to believe is a reasonable idea), those treatment-problems are going to become much more salient (noticeable and the kind of thing we care about). So for the record: it'll take over a year before we switch from calling trich "asymptomatic" in men and many women. And I'll add to that an additional prediction that it will take several years of screening and treating trich before we start addressing the, hey, we need a better drug issue.