Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum virus is a fairly common skin infection. It is spread by skin-to-skin contact. In adults it is mainly spread by sexual contact.

Signs and symptoms

Molluscum contagiosum appears as small, round, pearly lumps. They are often mistaken for warts. If passed on through sex, the spots tend to be found around the genitals. The spots usually appear several weeks after infection.

Risk factors

Skin-to-skin contact or oral, anal or vaginal sex with an infected person. Any spots not covered by a condom or dam can infect you. 

Treatment

Molluscum contagiosum is generally harmless and will disappear on its own in healthy people. The infection can last up to two years, although each spot generally goes after two or three months. If you are worried or uncomfortable, or have another medical condition, your doctor may treat the spots with cream or by freezing them.

Prevention

  • Always use condoms or dams and water-based lubricant. But remember, they only protect the area of skin that they cover.
  • Before you have sex, talk with your partner about the importance of safe sex.
  • Be open with your partner and make sure you or they don't have any other sex partners.
  • Limit your sex partners.
  • Get regular STI tests.

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