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What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by a poxvirus. It is a virus that lives in the skin. A molluscum skin infection usually appears 1 to 3 months after you are exposed to the virus. The virus can
last on your body from 6 months to 2 years.
How is it transmitted?
  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Wet towels, gym equipment and tanning beds
  • Sexual contact
  • It can be spread to other parts of the body when you scratch the bumps and then touch another body part
What are the symptoms?
  • Molluscum causes small, smooth, pearly white or flesh-colored hard bumps with a pitted or dimpled centre.
  • You can have one or a group of bumps anywhere on the body.
  • In sexually active people, these bumps may be found on the genitals, inner thighs, or abdomen.
  • The bumps can last from 6 months to 2 years. Once the bumps are gone so is the virus.
  • If scratched, the bumps can become infected with bacteria and may be tender or red.
How is it treated?

The bumps will usually go away on their own in 6 to 12 months. Very rarely, bumps will stay up to 2 years. Molluscum can be treated by freezing with liquid nitrogen or applying a prescription cream.

How do I get tested?

A health care professional diagnoses molluscum after examining the skin.


Any infection in the genital area may increase the risk of becoming infected with HIV.

Practicing safer sex by using latex or polyurethane condoms and/or oral dams for anal, oral or vaginal sex can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted or blood borne infections (STBBIs).

Call the Sexual Health Infoline Ontario at 1-800-668-2437 if you have questions or need help.

For more information on molluscum, please consult this website:

Sexual Health Centre

179 Clarence St,

Ottawa. ON K1N5P7

613-234-4641 | TTY: 613-580-9656


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