Crabs are easily spread during sex, even if you use condoms. The only 100% sure way to prevent pubic lice is to not have intimate contact.

Want to get tested for pubic lice? Find a Health Center →

How do I avoid getting pubic lice?

Crabs are pretty contagious and spread easily when people’s genitals and pubic hair rub together. So the only definite way to prevent crabs is to not have sex.

Crabs may seem kind of scary, especially because they spread easily. But try not to stress out too much about getting them. The good news is pubic lice are easy to treat and don’t cause serious health problems.

Condoms are super great at preventing other STDs (like HIV), but they don’t protect you from crabs. It’s still important to have safer sex by using condoms and getting tested for STDs regularly, so you can stay healthy.  

If someone you know has crabs, avoid sharing clothes, towels, and beds with them until they finish treatment and wash all their stuff. If you’ve had sex with them in the previous month, use treatment to make sure you don’t pass crabs back and forth between you.

How can I prevent spreading pubic lice?

Carefully follow all the steps for treating crabs. Don’t have sex until you and your partner(s) have all finished your pubic lice treatments, and avoid close, personal contact with people. Don’t share clothes or bedding until after you’re totally free of pubic lice and have washed everything properly.