Love Bugs & InSEXts: Creepy, Crawly Parasitic STDs

Most sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs and STDs) tend to carry a high gross factor on their own, but some can literally make your skin crawl. There are a few STDs that are caused by parasites or parasitic bacteria: Trichomoniasis, scabies and pubic lice (crabs).

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Parasitic protozoan: Trichomonas vaginalis

Trichomoniasis is an STD caused by a parasitic bacteria known as Trichomonas vaginalis. Often referred to as “Trich,” this infection is frequently associated with itching and inflammation down there. Luckily, Trich is a very common and easy to cure infection that afflicts roughly 3.7 million Americans. This STI infects the vagina and urinary tract during sexual activity, affecting the urethra, cervix, and vulva of women and the urethra or under the foreskin of uncircumcised men. Avoid contracting Trich by using condoms and by getting your partner tested and treated as well if you test positive for this parasitic protozoan, or you may fall under the statistic of the 1 in 5 individuals who get reinfected within three months of taking antibiotics.

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Scabies: Sarcoptes scabiei

Scabies are teensy tiny skin mites known as Sarcoptes scabiei that are most commonly transmitted sexually, but they can be spread by any skin-to-skin contact. They cause intense itching as a result of their bites and burrowing into the skin with their eight legs. Their bites cause a red rash of small red spots and bumps that can form little blisters. Scabies can be treated with a single round of antibiotics, but can linger on towels, bedding or clothing, so be sure to adequately clean them. Good luck seeing them though, scabies are so small that they can only be seen with a microscope or magnifying glass.

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Pubic louse

Pubic lice, also called “crabs,” is a form of lice that affects the genitals and pubic region. These tiny insects are Pthirus pubis lice that feed off blood. Pubic lice are a different form of lice that head or body lice. They are commonly contracted from an infected partner during sex, but can also be spread from sharing infected bedding, towels, or clothing. Symptoms of crabs include the skin in the affected area to turn a gray-blue color, itching, and genital sores in the area from the lice biting and/or scratching. Often nits (small white or grayish oval-shaped eggs) can be seen on pubic hair shafts. Pubic lice can be treated using a prescription wash. Just like trich and scabies, it is important to get your partner checked as well and to rid them from all bedding, clothing and fabrics to prevent reinfestation.

Don’t get bitten by the same bug as someone else. If you think that you have an STI, it is important to get tested and treated to stop the spread of STDs.

Medically Reviewed by on October 2, 2018

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Author: Nick Corlis

Nick Corlis is a writer, marketer, and designer. He graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, with a degree in Digital Communications. Nick is proud to be able to help eliminate the stigma of STD testing through his writing and is always trying to advocate the importance of your sexual health. Before STDcheck, his favorite way to develop his writing skills was by accepting various writing jobs in college and maintaining multiple blogs. Nick wears many hats here at STDcheck, but specifically enjoys writing accurate, well-researched content that is not only informative and relatable but sometimes also contains memes. When not writing, Nick likes to race cars and go-karts, eat Japanese food, and play games on his computer.