Sexual Health Data Verified

Molluscum Contagiosum

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Jul 27, 2016 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2019   -  2 min read



Molluscum contagiosum is a contagious viral infection, which results in raised nodules on the skin. Learn about its clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum in adults, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is described as asymptomatic pimples over the genitalia by most of the patients. It is basically caused by Molluscum contagiosum virus, a DNA virus of the poxvirus family. It spreads by close contact commonly with the children, the immunocompromised and increasingly younger adults, in the latter as a sexually transmitted disease. The incidence peaks at 5-10 years of age.

Presentation in Sufferer

  • After a variable incubation period (14 days to 6 months), typical lesions start as small whitish papules and gradually enlarge to become typical shiny, pearly white, hemispherical, dome-shaped, 5-10 mm umbilicated papules with central depression.
  • Lesions are mostly multiple, sometimes single or a few lesions may localize anywhere on the body depending on their mode of transmission. For example, on the face and limbs of children and the genitals of adults in case of sexual transmission.
  • Atypical presentation can occur over scalp, lips, palms and soles and mistaken for verruca vulgaris.
  • In HIV infection or AIDS patients, this infection is common. It is often a marker of advanced disease and may exhibit multiple and extensive lesions. The morphology of which may not remain as distinctive as in the immunocompetent.
  • Giant lesions or grapelike clusters of multiple small lesions may occur, especially in the beard area.

Course of Action

The disease is chronic, whereas autoinoculation and shaving spread it. The inflammation, trauma and secondary infection, promote its spontaneous cure. In atopic individuals, eczema may develop around the healed lesions.


  1. In immunocompetent patients, the diagnosis is easily done clinically. Extrusion of the cheesy white molluscum body or pearl from the lesion is corroborative.
  2. In cases of HIV infected or AIDS patients, disseminated histoplasmosis or cryptococcosis may mimic this infection necessitating histological examination for confirmation.


Despite the eventual spontaneous resolution, particularly in the children, treatment does help to minimize autoinoculation and prevent transmission to others. Young adults should be evaluated for concomitant sexually transmitted disease and their partners have to get treated in order to prevent reinfection.

  • Antibiotics are required if there is secondary infection.
  • Cryotherapy is the treatment of choice.
  • Physical expression of the molluscum body in total by squeezing a papule with blunt forceps or superficial curettage or shaving with a sharpened wooden spatula.
  • Chemicals like phenol, carbolic acid, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), silver nitrate or iodine solution should be applied very carefully, after piercing the papules with a sharpened stick and taking out the molluscum body, avoiding spillage and necrosis of the surrounding skin.
  • KOH (Potassium hydroxide) applied over lesions for 30 days leads to clearance by digesting proteins.
  • Topical 5% Imiquimod cream is helpful in treating giant molluscum.

Recurrent or recalcitrant lesions in the HIV or immunocompromised have been treated with the following:

  1. Topical Tretinion or 5% Fluorouracil has been used in the treatment of recurrences in the immune compromised host.
  2. IV Cidofovir resolved recalcitrant lesions in the HIV infected. A topical gel is also being tried.
  3. Antiretroviral therapy in HIV infected also causes regression of the lesions.
  4. Electron beam therapy and pulsed dye laser have been found useful in recalcitrant molluscum contagiosum in immunocompromised hosts.

For more information regarding molluscum contagiosum consult a molluscum contagiosum specialist online -->


This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2019  -  2 min read


Ask a QueryAsk a Query Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat


Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

HIV test was negative, but I am still worried. Please help.

Query: Hi doctor, After 15 months of unprotected sex, I went for HIV test called Comb AIDS test but, the result came back negative for both HIV-1 and 2. Again after three months, I redid the test, but even this time, the result was negative. I was not satisfied, so I went for ELISA tes...  Read Full »

What kind of muscle pain is associated with ARS?

Query: Hi, I am a 31 year old male. About 38 days before I had sex with a CSW (Commercial Social Worker). It was protected vaginal sex and protected oral sex. Also there were deep throat kisses which lasted almost a minute. I am not sure if the condom was torn during the intercourse.  Since last 3 weeks ...  Read Full »

Are my symptoms indicative of HIV infection?

Query: Hi doctor, I am having hot breaths, and my eyes feel hot. I have acidity problems. All these problems started after I had sexual intercourse. Is it an indication of HIV? Should I get a western blot test now?  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Hiv Infection or Aids?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.
Enter Your Health Query
You can upload files and images in the next step.



Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.