STIs – Pubic lice
How do you get it?
Pubic lice are mainly spread by close body contact, most commonly sexual contact.
The lice cannot jump or fly, but can climb from one person to another.
You can also catch the lice from clothes, bedding or towels used by someone with pubic lice, but this is rare.
Condoms and other forms of contraception will not protect you from pubic lice but should still be worn to prevent the spread of other STIs.
Pubic lice are very small (2mm long) and grey-brown in colour.
They can be hard to spot, but sometimes you may be able to see them in your hair.
Itching, which is usually worse at night.
Small red or blue spots on your skin (lice bites).
White/yellow dots attached to your hair (lice eggs).
Dark red or brown spots in your underwear (lice poo).
Crusted or sticky eyelashes, if they’re affected.
Pubic lice do not transmit infection.
Secondary bacterial infection may be transmitted through scratching the skin.
They may check your pubic hair around your penis or vagina and any other areas that could be affected, such as your armpits, chest or eyelashes.
To help spot any lice, they might use a comb and a magnifying lens.
The main treatments for pubic lice are medicated creams or shampoos that kill the lice.
You usually need to use the treatment on your whole body and leave it on for a few hours before washing it off. You’ll need to repeat this again a week later to make sure all the lice have been killed.
You may be asked to come back a week after you finish treatment, to check if the treatment has worked.