Check-Up: Is ‘crabs’ an STI?

October 28, 2019

Dear Readers,

S .H. recently had ‘the crabs’. It’s been treated and she’s okay now. Her partner also had to be treated. She’s asking Check Up if crabs is an STI.

Crab lice are insects which feed on human blood. They are usually found in infected people’s pubic hair although they can also live on other areas of the body where coarse hair is found, like even eyebrows, beards, armpits.

Human beings are the only known hosts of the crab lice.

Crab lice have a round body and two pairs of legs. The front legs have large claws. Crab lice lays their eggs on the hairs found in the genital and perianal regions of the body and eggs take about a week to hatch and another two weeks to develop into adult crab louse.

They don’t infect fine hair like in the scalp. Adult crab lice live up to 30 days and can only live away from a human for 24 to 48 hours at the most!


Pubic lice are transmitted from person to person most commonly by sexual contact, although recently infected bed linen and clothing, closets and shared towels, can sometimes pass the crabs on to another person if they come in contact within 48 hours.

Symptoms of pubic lice include:

- Itching

- Redness

- Inflammation

Certainly, persons with pubic crab lice should be investigated for other sexually transmitted infections.

The crab lice are treated with RID or NIX, two compounds which are readily available at the pharmacy.

Please follow instructions carefully concerning application of treatment and changing and washing of clothing and bedding.

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