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Molluscum contagiosum

What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral skin infection.

How do I get MC?

MC is transmitted through skin to skin contact, including genital contact during sex.

It is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

What symptoms would I have with MC?

You would have small lumps or spots on the skin of your genitals which may spread to your abdomen (belly area) or thighs. They are usually not painful or itchy.

How can I be tested for MC?

MC is usually diagnosed by physical examination.

How is MC treated?

Most people don't need treatment as the spots usually go away by themselves.

Sometimes they are frozen or treated with a cream or lotion.

Avoid squeezing or scratching the spots. This can cause pain, bleeding and can lead to scarring.

What about my partner?

Your partner does not need to be examined or treated unless they have symptoms that they are concerned about.

To reduce the risk of passing MC to your partner:

  • avoid squeezing or scratching the spots - this can increasing them spreading
  • avoid sharing towels and clothing
  • avoid sharing baths

When can I have sex again?

MC is not considered an STI but the virus can be transmitted by close intimate contact. You may need to take care during intimate contact until the spots have healed.

What happens if MC is left untreated?

In most cases, MC will go away within 18 months without the need for treatment.

Download the Molluscum Contagiosum leaflet here.