molluscum contagiosum as an std

Molluscum Contagiosum as an STD

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

Molluscum Contagiosum  treatment

Molluscum Contagiosum As A Sexually Transmitted Disease?

What Is It?

Molluscum Contagiosum is a common, viral, human skin infection caused by a DNA poxvirus, and is not associated with Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) which cause genital warts.

In teenagers and adults molluscum contagiosum is frequently, but not always, transferred though intimate sexual contact (not necessarily sexual intercourse) and, when molluscum is transmitted this way it is classified as a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD).

Although molluscum contagiosum has traditionally been regarded as a childhood disease, the numbers of molluscum contagiosum infections as an STD have risen in the last 25 years, and are continuing to rise in line with the rate of growth of STDs worldwide.

A molluscum contagiosum STD infection can be very challenging as it is poorly misunderstood and quite neglected in STD literature and information sites. While many clinics have online websites providing help and guidance on a list of STDs, molluscum contagiosum is all too often absent from the lists.

Molluscum contagiosum infection continues to be regarded by medical professionals as a nuisance rather than a serious health problem and there is not enough discussion about how to stop the spread of molluscum contagiosum, on your own body and to other people, and very little discussion at all about how having a molluscum contagiosum STD may impact on your quality of life.

Who Gets It?

Molluscum contagiosum can be caught by anyone who comes in direct contact with another infected person or contaminated object.

Molluscum contagiosum as an STD is found all over the world and affects both men and women equally. It affects all races.

What Are The Symptoms?

When the infection is contracted through sexual activity, molluscum contagiosum bumps usually appear on the genital area (on or near the penis, vulva or vagina), buttocks, abdomen, inner thighs,  or anal area.

Molluscum Contagiosum

  • has an incubation period of between 2 weeks and 6 months.
  • may first appear as pinhead bumps on the skin.
  • bumps may range in size from that of a pinhead to a pencil eraser.
  • bumps are usually  small and dome-shaped with pink or flesh-coloured appearance.
  • growths are usually dimpled and contain a white, cheesy like substance.
  • bumps usually feel smooth or waxy to the touch.
  • is usually painless, but bumps can become swollen and sore.
  • sometimes produces symptoms of itch or inflammation.
  • might impact on quality of life.

 How Long Does It Last?

A molluscum contagiosum infection commonly lasts for 12-18 months.

Each lesion, or bump, has an approximate individual life span of 6-12 weeks until  a crust develops on the bump and it goes away. But, while the infection remains active, new bumps or lesions may appear as the older bumps die off.

Any skin condition or viral infection can be unpredictable and some spots can remain for much longer. Unfortunately for the sufferer, pox viruses are notorious for their ability to evade the sufferer’s immune system, and this may help explain why a molluscum contagiosum infection can persist for so long, with some cases lasting approximately four to five years.

It takes time for the body to eventually realise the virus is present, and start to fight it off.

How Is It Spread?

Molluscum Contagiosum

  • is highly contagious through skin to skin contact or contact with contaminated objects.
  • can easily spread over the sufferer’s own body.
  • may occur again if a person is reinfected.


Molluscum contagiosum may be transmitted through intimate, sexual activity, not restricted to sexual intercourse.Molluscum Contagiosum

Please be aware that the molluscum contagiosum virus can pass through saliva, so exercise care and caution if engaging in oral sex.

And, the infection may be passed via inanimate objects such as towels, hairbrushes, razors and sex toys.

If you do have molluscum contagiosum then you should not engage in sexual activity until the last bump has gone.

And, of course, you should not engage in sexual activity with a person who has the infection.

Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission.

However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD, including molluscum contagiosum.

Condoms can be expected to provide different levels of protection for various STDs, depending on differences in how the infections or diseases are transmitted

But, male or female condoms may not cover all infected areas of the body, or areas that could become infected.

Thus, condoms are likely to provide greater protection against STDs that are transmitted only by genital fluids (STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and HIV infection) than against infections that are transmitted primarily by direct skin-to-skin contact, such as molluscum contagiosum.

So, where either person has molluscum contagiosum, condoms may protect the penis or vagina, but they do not offer sufficient protection from the infection as the molluscum bumps will probably be present in other intimate areas of the body not covered by the condom such as thighs, buttocks, external genitalia and anal area.

However, condoms should always be used every time the disease status of a sexual partner is unknown.

The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of molluscum contagiosum as an STD are

  • to abstain from sexual activity (which is not a choice most people are willing to make).
  • to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner, for a period of 6 months after both parties have been checked for STDs.

Many couples agree to attend at STD clinics to be checked for any diseases or infections before entering into a relationship.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If you have developed unidentified bumps on the skin, especially those that appear quickly, whether they occur singly or in clusters, and may or may not have a visible white core, seek medical attention promptly.

There is always a chance that you might mistake potentially serious conditions for the relatively harmless molluscum contagiosum.

A doctor will be able to confirm which disease is present and advise on how to deal with it.

If there are molluscum bumps present on the genitals, the doctor may refer the sufferer to a genitor-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic to be checked for other STDs and, rule out the possibility of another, more serious condition.

How Is It Treated?

There are a number of conventional molluscum contagiosum treatments.

  • Podophyllotoxin
  • Imiquimod
  • Cimetidine
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Tretinoin
  • Trichloroacetic Acid Peel
  • Laser Therapy
  • Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid
  • Silver Nitrate
  • Cantharidin
  • Cidofovir
  • Cryotherapy
  • Diathermy
  • Curettage


Coming up next:  Useful Tips to Stop Molluscum