An STI which is virtually unknown to the public is likely to be found in Black, Asian and other minority women more frequently, according to new research.
While more common than other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea, the virus Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) is largely not known about to large swathes of people.
But new research shows that it is more common among ethnic minority women and can appear with common symptoms or asymptomatically.
Without treatment, the condition can have serious consequences, increasing the likelihood of HIV and pregnancy complications, which is why it’s important we get clued up on it.
The research, presented by Preventx at the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV annual conference, found that TV is also more common among heterosexual people. They studied 8,676 women from six English local authority areas who had completed remote STI tests.
While women of colour were most likely to be affected, Black women were particularly found to be at risk.
In the study, they found that 5.2% of women from Black, Caribbean and African heritage who had vaginal discharge – a common symptom of the infection – ended up testing positive for TV.
For all other women, the risk of having and displaying signs of the condition were 3.5%, with white women facing lower chances, at 3.4%.
Even in Black women who did not show any symptoms, the chances of TV remained higher among them, with a positivity rate more than twice as high as for white women. For Black women, this figure was eight times more likely, whereas for white women it was twice.
But it might not be genetic differences that predispose more women of colour to the condition than white women – it could be to do with levels of social deprivation.
For the first time, scientists also considered the relationship with poverty and rates of TV.
They found that the highest levels of TV were found in disadvantaged areas, with 5.9% of women in the most deprived neighbourhoods (in which women of colour are more likely to reside) testing positive for TV. In affluent…