Pubic lice

Also called “crabs,” pubic lice are parasites found in the genital area on pubic hair and sometimes on other coarse body hairs. Pubic lice are common. They are different from head lice. Special shampoos and medicines are used to kill pubic lice.

How you get it

Pubic lice usually are spread through sexual contact. Intercourse does not need to occur. Rarely, pubic lice are spread through contact with an infected person’s sheets, towels, or clothes.
NOTE: Pubic lice CANNOT be spread by sitting on a toilet seat. Animals do not get or spread pubic lice.


Symptoms of pubic lice include:
• Itching in the genital area
• Visible nits (lice eggs) or crawling lice (which look like crabs when viewed with a magnifying glass)

How to find out if you have it

Doctors can tell if a person has pubic lice by looking closely at the pubic hair for nits or young or adult lice.
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