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Bikini waxing making pubic lice rarer and rarer, according to experts

The common and reviled crab louse is becoming rarer and rarer due to the popularity of bikini waxing, some doctors say.
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This picture taken on December 31, 2012 shows models wearing bikinis posing for photographs at a ski resort in Jilin, northwest China's Jilin province. (STR/Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Sexual health experts are seeing less and less infestations of the itchy bloodsuckers in their practices, writes Bloomberg, and it's suspected that the increasing ubiquity of Brazilian waxes and other grooming techniques are behind the decline.

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It's true that shaving off one's pubic hair after an infestation has begun is unlikely to do much good, as the creatures don't require much hair to survive (per the NHS) — but waxing presents a rather more challenging habitat problem.

And there's a lot less habitat for pubic lice to roam in: a 2011 Kenyon College study found that both college-aged men and women now tend to remove their pubic hair in the USA and Australia, considering it more alluring.

“It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen,” Basil Donovan, head of sexual health at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, told BusinessWeek. “Without doubt, it’s better grooming.”

The Guardian writes that the pubic louse population crash appears to correspond with the rise of the Brazilian wax in 2000, according to a 2006 study entitled "Did the Brazilian Kill the Pubic Louse?".

"Crabs" have been something of a running sexual joke for decades, but the little beasties are very much real, and will merrily take up residence in the pubic hair of their unsuspecting victims.

Bloodsuckers by trade, pubic lice present more of a disgusting annoyance then a public health disaster as they do not transmit disease, writes the CDC — although the scratching they tend to provoke can cause secondary infection.

Read more from GlobalPost: Incurable gonorrhea found in North America

Prior to the shaving and waxing revolution, pubic lice were usually treated with topical chemicals, some of which come with rather unpleasant side effects, according to the CDC.

Could bikini waxing become a physician-suggested sexual health measure? Only time will tell.

One thing is certain: you're unlikely to see bumper stickers soliciting donations to the Save the Pubic Lice Fund any time in the near future.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/science/shed-tear-me-bikini-waxing-making-pubic-lice-rarer-and-rarer-according-exper

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