SPOKANE, Wash. — Trichomonas Vaginalis, commonly known as "trich" is what Dr. John Alderete at Washington State University's School of Molecular Biosciences says is the "most common STD that people have never heard of."

Dr. Alderete calls this STD a silent epidemic as he and his colleagues estimate that in the United States "the incidents of the trich STD is 10 and 12 million." 

Furthermore, his research indicates that 70% of those infected with trich are asymptomatic, but it can be cured with prescribed drugs. However, untreated this STD can have serious implications for both men and women, including pregnancy and infertility complications and could increase a man's chance of getting prostate cancer.

To quickly and effectively detect trich Dr. Alderete has created a not-yet commercialized point-of-care test. With this test, a simple finger prick can detect this STD. Dr. Alderete's vision for this test is to be as accessible as a pregnancy test. The ease in which this test is administered is what differentiates it.

"We don't need trained people, we don't need expensive equipment we, don't need perfect settings, it can be done anywhere," said Dr. Alderete.

Spokane County has one of the highest rates of STDs in Washington state. Kristen Duncan a Disease Intervention Specialist at Spokane Regional Health says that is partly related to access to testing and population size. She emphasized that many common STDs are asymptomatic, but getting tested regularly is essential to keep yourself and future partners safe. 

"Unless someone is accessing routine screening, they are not aware that they have an STI, and because of that they are continuing to spread it in the community and other partners. Getting tested regularly is the best way to know if you have an STI, and with that information we know how to adequately treat them," said Duncan. 

The Spokane Regional Health District provides testing free of cost. For more information on the Regional Health Districts STI Prevention Program click here

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