Pubic lice infestations are found worldwide. The lice use tiny claws to hang onto hair stands and survive on human blood. They live in pubic hair most commonly, but can also live in other coarse human body hair, such as armpit hair, beard hair, chest hair, thigh hair or eyelashes. Interestingly, they don’t live on the hairs on your head (unlike ‘nits’ or head lice).
Pubic lice are spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, which most commonly occurs during sexual contact, eg, if you:
- have vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who is infected with pubic lice
- kiss or hug someone who has lice in their beard.
You can also get pubic lice when you are in contact with towels, bedding or clothing of someone who is infected with pubic lice, but that is much less common.