YOU might not think it’s possible, but a man has caught pubic lice without having sex.
The 65-year-old visited his GP after six weeks of persistent itching on his genitals.
NEJME.ORG After six weeks of itching doctors discovered the man had pubic lice
An examination revealed the lice “firmly attached” to his pubic hair, according to a case report in the New England Medical Journal.
Pubic lice are usually transferred during sex, but in this man’s case he had not been intimate with anyone in the lead up to his diagnosis.
“Pubic pediculosis [pubic lice] is usually sexually transmitted but can occur after contact with materials such as clothing, bedding, and towels used by an infected person,” the report noted.
“The condition most commonly affects teenagers and young adults.
Getty – Contributor Punic lice are most often passed on through sex, but the man hadn’t been intimate in the lead up to his diagnosis
“This patient reported that he had had no recent sexual contact, and no other sexually transmitted infections were identified on screening.”
The man was given treatment for the lice, which included a two week course of antibiotics, and four weeks later he was lice free.
Pubic lice are tiny parasitic insects that live on coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair.
They can also survive in underarm hair, leg hair, chest hair and in facial hair.
Man catches pubic lice WITHOUT having sex – and they could be caught from bed sheets, towels and clothes
The only place don’t live is in the hair on our heads.
If you have pubic lice the main symptom you will have is itching and inflammation caused by scratching.
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But you may notice a black powder in your underwear.
They are spread through close bodily contact, most often sex.
But it is not unheard of for them to be spread through other means, like dirty sheets, towels and even clothes.
Bekki Burbidge, head of communications at the sexual health charity FPA, said: “Despite the name, pubic lice can actually live in any hair on your body, apart from the hair on your head.
“They move by crawling from hair to hair, so they can be easily passed from one person to another by any close body contact as well as sexual contact – and they’re nothing to do with having poor hygiene.
“Because pubic lice depend on human blood for their survival it’s very rare for them to leave people’s bodies.
Getty – Contributor In some cases pubic lice can be passed on through dirty sheets, towels and even clothes
“But occasionally they might be spread through clothing, bedding or towels that have been used by someone with pubic lice.”
But don’t worry, pubic lice aren’t something you have to live with forever.
They can be treated at home with insecticide cream, lotion or shampoo.
Your GP or pharmacist can prescribe the right treatment for you.
Anyone who you have had sex with in the last three months will also need to get treated.
“Washing your clothing, bedding and towels in a washing machine on a very hot cycle (60°C or higher) will help kill any lice,” Bekki added.
If you are worried you may have pubic lice it is best to speak to your GP.