Pubic Lice

Pubic lice is a sexually transmitted infection of parasitic insects found primarily in the pubic or genital area on humans. They may also be found on other course body hair on the legs, armpits, mustache, beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Animals do not get or spread pubic lice. 

Also know as: Crabs, Pubic Crabs

How You Get It:

  • Vaginal, anal or oral sex and genital touching with someone who has pubic lice
  • Skin-to-skin contact with the affected area
  • Contact with infected clothing or sheets

Symptoms:

  • Shows up at time of infection
  • Itching in the affected area
  • Visually see the lice

Prevention: Pubic lice can be prevented by abstaining from sexual contact and close contact with an infected person and not participating in sexual contact and close contact with someone while public lice are still present. 

Testing: Low-risk HPV with warts are detected with a visual pelvic exam. High-risk or cancer causing HPV can be tested through a regular PAP smear. The PAP smear tests for abnormal cervical cells, which can become normal over time, but sometimes turn into cancer. An additional test can be added to the PAP specifically for HPV, which will determine if someone has it, and what kind. There is no routinely recommended sreening test for anal, penile or throat cancer at this time. 

Treatment:

  • Pubic lice can be treated and cured
  • Lice-killing products available over-the-counter without a prescription
  • Use finger nails or combs to remove any eggs still attached at the hair shaft
  • Shaving the pubic area will not get rid of pubic lice
  • Wash all clothing, towels and bedding that the infected person used up to three days before diagnosis in very hot water (130 degrees) and on the hot dryer setting
  • Items that cannot be laundered can be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks
  • Avoid sexual contact until treatment is complete and no live lice are found
  • Repeat treatment if live lice are found

If left untreated:

  • Will continue to spread it to sex partners
  • If the infected person itches profusely, scabs and scratches may occur
  • The break in the skin from the scratches can cause a secondary bacterial infection

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