Dear Agony StudAunt,
This is massively embarrassing, so please make sure I come up as anonymous. I slept with someone at a university hall party last week. This morning, I woke up with an itch. I hope it’s not what I think. Is it? Urgh. Also, do I tell the person who must have given it to me that they have it? Should I be angry? Do you think that they know? Help. Please, please help!
Yes, you probably have crabs. Better known as pubic lice, or pthirus pubice if you want to get all Latin up in here. Although don’t take my advice for it – remember, I’m not a doctor, just an amazing advice giver. To confirm that part, you really need to visit your local GP. A simple physical will be able to tell you. The way to rectify it? Easy and cheap. Trust me, it could be much worse. An over-the-counter medication containing pyrethrin (i.e. the stuff you use on nits) will fix you right up.
As for the second part of your crises? It depends. Are you able to find them? How well do you know them? Are you sure it was them? I mean, yes, it seems likely (especially if you haven’t slept with anyone else since), but remember that crabs can be passed on via towels. Yes, towels, dear, and other types of linen and bedding. Wash all of your underpants and such on a hot wash and then think about your next step. In some cases, it’s prudent to tell someone that they have crabs if you think that they do. Symptoms aren’t always apparent in some people, so they mightn’t even know.
Ask to meet up privately or in a non-confrontational manner, like via Skype or over e-mail. Be entirely non-aggressive in your approach, i.e. no yelling into the microphone that they gave you an STI. It happens – you’re young and having casual sex with potentially random people. That’s totally cool, but sometimes (like in the case of crabs) unavoidable. A condom won’t save you from them. Tell the person that you had a good time but realised you were itching a bit afterwards. Inform that it’s sorted and reinforce how common it is, but end with “just thought you might want to know… symptoms aren’t always obvious.”
They might be a bit embarrassed, but might push them to get themselves checked and treated, which is always a positive. And hey, if it wasn’t them, they now know that they probably have them… from you. Good job, petal.
With lots of love and non-itchy luck,
Agony StudAunt xxx
By Michelle Ives