Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that causes a skin rash. It is a poxvirus and is spread via contact. When it affects the genitals, it is considered an STD. While it does not have a cure, the virus eventually resolves itself.
Molluscum contagiosum is spread through contact. This can take place in many forms:
The main symptom of a molluscum contagiosum infection is the rash:
Molluscum contagiosum does not have any serious complications associated with it. However, scratching of the rash can lead to bacterial infections.
The infection can be easily transferred to partners even with condom use. Re-infection is always a possibility and care should be taken to avoid exposure.
Individual lesions generally disappear in 2-4 weeks; however, the condition can take longer to resolve entirely. Roughly 35% of patients have what appears to be a recurrence, but it is not clear if it is true recurrence or a re-infection or a case of the virus that had not completely resolved yet.
Often the preferred treatment is to let the condition resolve itself. However, especially in adults, the bumps are often removed surgically to prevent transmission. Methods used include:
Medications used to remove warts may also be recommended.
Without treatment, healthy people can have symptoms disappear in 6-12 months. However, the virus itself may stay in the person's body for many years.
As the virus is easily spread and not generally covered by condoms, sexual activity should be avoided until all symptoms are resolved.
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No. The virus has to run its course.
Viral. The infection is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus - a member of the poxvirus family.
Removal. Sometimes no treatment is given. Other times the bumps are removed (scraping, laser, freezing).
6 to 12 months. Untreated symptoms can disappear in 6-12 months.
No. Sexual activity should be avoided until all symptoms have resolved.
Yes. People can be re-infected with the virus repeatedly.
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