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The contagiousness of pubic lice and how to protect yourself

  • std
  • sti
  • pubic lice
  • trichomonas


"How do you get pubic lice?"

- Anonymous


This is a great question to get to the bottom of. Starting out generally, there are four ways that STDs are spread: through blood, through vaginal fluids or semen, from skin to skin contact and from mother to child during birth or through breast milk.

Pubic lice, often called crabs, is a parasitic STD that spreads via skin to skin contact. This does not include casual contact like shaking hands. This means when a mouth or genitals come into contact with another person's genitals. In almost all cases, skin to skin contact of this nature must occur for pubic lice to be transmitted from one person to another.

There are a few ways that pubic lice can spread in non-sexual ways. For example, they can be spread if two people use the same loofah, or if you put on somebody else's wet clothing. Wet towels are another way that you can catch pubic lice. They can even spread through bedsheets. 

Pubic lice can survive for 24 hours outside of the body if they find dark, moist, warm places. The CDC states that 4% of pubic lice cases are from incidents involving a hot tub or a wet towel.

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