Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus that can be spread sexually and by non-sexual contact through contaminated objects like towels, clothing or sex toys.

Getting Tested

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Type of Test

Molluscum contagiosum is diagnosed based on visual examination. Samples of the bumps may be examined under a microscope to detect the virus.

Test Timing

Since no lab test is required, diagnosis will occur during an exam.

  • Symptoms include shiny, smooth, white, dimpled bumps, with a curd-like core and itching on the genitals and trunk area.

  • Molluscum contagiosum will usually go away on its own within a year without treatment. The bumps can be removed by a health care provider in a number of different ways, which is usually done only when there are ten or fewer lesions.

  • Sometimes molluscum contagiosum can lead to a more serious infection such as staphylococcus, so lesions should be monitored for signs of infection.

  • As with all STIs, the most effective protection is to abstain from sexual activity or be monogamous with one long-term partner who does not have molluscum contagiosum or any other STI. Using latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the infection. But because molluscum contagiosum can be spread by other means, condoms do not fully protect against spreading the virus.