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.

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Molluscum usually appears 1 to 3 months after you are exposed to the virus.
  • 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

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.

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 oral, anal or vaginal sex can reduce the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections and blood borne infections (STBBIs).

Call the Aids and Sexual Health Infoline at 1-800-6682437 if you have questions or need help.

For more information:

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