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Pubic lice (crabs)

What is it?

Pubic lice are small parasitic insects that live in coarse body hair, such as pubic hair. They are yellow-grey and about 2mm long, and are often known as “crabs”. The eggs are called nits and appear as brownish dots fixed to coarse body hair.

They can be found in pubic hair, underarm and leg hair, hair on the abdomen and chest, in beards and, more rarely, in eyebrows and eyelashes. They do not live in the hair on the head.

Pubic lice are different from the head lice which some people get on their scalp.

Worried about pubic lice?

Detailed information on STIs is available on the NHS website.

See the FPA website for a range of downloadable leaflets on sexually transmitted infections.

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) website also features a range of downloadable leaflets on STIs.