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Division of HIV and STD Programs
 

   

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Contact Information
Division of HIV and STD Programs
600 S. Commonwealth Ave., 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone:(213) 351-8000
Fax: (213) 738-0825
Email: DHSP@ph.lacounty.gov
Office Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. M-F
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Crabs Information

Facts

  • Found in hair around the penis, vagina, anus, under the arms or on the face
  • Hangs onto hairs near roots and bites
  • Lays eggs

How do you get it?
Crabs can be a sexually transmitted disease. It is most often spread by skin-to-skin contact during sex. You can also get it by sharing sheets, towels or clothing with someone who has crabs. Indirect transmission is possible because they can survive 24-48 hours (1-2 days) off of a person's body.

Symptoms
Symptoms include itching in the hairy areas around the penis, vagina, anus, underarms (armpits) or face. Affected areas can also include the chest, beard, and eyelashes. Pubic lice rarely spread to the head. On hairs, they may look like gray or red-brown dots. It is also possible to see tiny white crab eggs on the hairs or red spots on the skin where crabs have bitten.

Testing
To see if you might have crabs, go to a doctor or a health clinic.

Treatment
If you have crabs, medication can be applied on the affected areas and then washed off. Clothing, sheets and towels used in the past two weeks should be washed in hot water or dry cleaned.

Prevention
Avoid contact with someone who has crabs. Using condoms may not protect you from crabs, because the bugs can live in places condoms do not cover. Limiting your number of sex partners or intimate contacts can lower your chances of getting infected. Clothing and linen used in the past two weeks should be washed in hot water or dry cleaned.

HIV and STD Information


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