Get informed : Sexuality

Pubic lice
What is it?
•    Pubic lice are miniscule crab-like parasites that infest human body hair. They can be found in the pubic, anal, armpit and breast areas as well as in facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.

•    Pubic lice can survive for 24 hours outside the human body.

•    Pubic lice are also referred to as crabs.


•    Pubic lice cause severe itching in hair-covered areas on the body.

•    They can also cause inflammation and irritation in the affected areas.

•    Pubic lice bites may cause blue marks on the skin.

•    A medical examination is required for diagnosis.

•    Pubic lice are sometimes visible to the naked eye.

How do you contract it?

•    Through sexual contact or through basic, direct contact (skin to skin) with an infected person (e.g. sports, dancing) or through indirect contact with infected objects (sheets, towels, clothing, personal hygiene articles, etc.).

•    Linens, sheets or toilet seats can also be contaminated and can contribute to spreading.

•    Having had one episode of pubic lice does not preclude you from catching it again.

How do you treat it?

•    Pubic lice is usually cured with non-prescription specialized lotions sold in pharmacies. It’s important to repeat the treatment seven days after the first treatment to kill off all the pubic lice, because the eggs have a 7-10 day incubation period.

•    It’s also important to launder all clothing and bedding that was in direct contact with the infected person.

•    Partners and anyone living with the infected person should also undergo treatment at the same time.

•    Shaving of the infected area is not an effective treatment.

How do you prevent the infection from spreading?

Infected people should avoid any close physical contact during treatment in order to prevent the spread of infection to those around them, and they should also avoid sharing clothing, towels or personal hygiene articles.

How can you protect yourself?
•    Avoid close contact with an infected person until their treatment has been completed.   

•    There is no sure-fire way to protect yourself against pubic lice because it is transmitted through basic contact with an infected person.
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