Molluscum contagiosum (MC)

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral skin infection, passed on through genital skin contact or other forms of close skin contact. In most cases, MC will go away without the need for treatment.

What is it?

Molluscum contagiosum (MC for short) is a viral skin infection.

How do I catch it?

The MC virus is passed from person to person through close skin contact, such as genital skin contact.

What symptoms could I have?

MC affects the skin only. You may notice small spots on the skin in the groin area, pubic area or genitals. The spots can spread, so you may also find them on your tummy area, inner thighs or other body sites.

The spots are usually painless. They all look very similar with a smooth and shiny dome-shaped appearance. You might notice that the spots have a tiny white head in the centre. The head might split, causing a thick yellowy-white substance to escape. This substance is highly infections so don't squeeze the spots or shave the skin in that area, as this will spread the the infection.

The spots may become red, larger, or painful before they pop or disappear. Most will heal without scarring.

How do you test for it?

MC will be diagnosed by a clinician examining your skin.

You can use the service finder to find a testing service near you.

How do you treat it?

MC is likely to last a few weeks to a few months. Most cases will clear up within 18 months. Treatment is usually not recommended or needed, but please come to clinic if you are unsure of the cause of spots, or if they are giving you problems.

What about my sexual partner(s)?

MC is passed by skin to skin contact so may be passed on to sexual contacts. Using condoms or dental dams will reduce the risk of catching it or passing it on.