STD Information: Pubic Lice or "Crabs"


There are 3 kinds of lice that can live on humans: head lice, body lice, and pubic or crab lice. Lice move relatively slowly and cannot survive more than 24 hrs. without human contact.

  • WTW Transmission: Absolutely!  Any close contact with an infected person or their clothes or bed linens can allow for transmission, so sex partners are at very high risk.  However, you might be relieved to know that lice cannot hop or fly.
  • Symptoms: Itching, finding nits (the eggs or infant lice) or lice.
  • Treatment: Special shampoos, cream rinses & lotions (obtained by prescription). All partners for the last 30 days must be treated. For washable clothing and bedding use HOT cycle of washer and dryer. Dry cleaning or keeping items isolated from body for 10 days will also kill lice and eggs.

Please note that for the purpose of our web site we are focusing primarily on woman to woman transmission (WTW) and only providing a general overview of the infections themselves. You may want to check out our Bibliography and Links sections for more in depth information or contact us with specific questions through STD Q&A's.