Pubic Lice

Pubic lice are grey or light brown insects, about 2 mm long. They attach themselves to hairs and lay their eggs (nits) there, which look like tiny white dots. Pubic lice are usually transmitted during sex, but can also spread through infected clothing, bedding or towels. They can occur on any part of the body where there is hair, including legs and arms. The only place you won't find them is on your head as this is a different type of hair.


  • Itching where the lice are found
  • Sometimes black marks in your underwear (lice faeces)
  • Scratching can lead to red or irritated skin or cause an infection

The lice won’t go away by themselves, but can be treated. It is also advisable to clean bedding, clothing, and any other soft furnishings like rugs and fabric sofas. If you have become infected with pubic lice during sex, you may have another STI too. So you should go and see your doctor to find out whether an STI test is necessary.

Safe Sex

A condom doesn’t protect you against pubic lice. Shaving your pubic hair won’t help either. You should warn your partner if you have pubic lice, to prevent reinfection.