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Molluscum Auto-innoculation?

Dec 24, 2000

Rick, I tested negative for HIV a few years after having unprotected sex with a prostitute. That's my only risk to date. I'm also pretty healthy. I recently found out that I have molluscum contagiosium. However, molloscum was found not only on my genitals, but also on portions of my arms and kneecaps. Could I have infected myself? More importantly, I heard that molluscum in the body only occurs in kids, and that if molluscum was widespread in an adult's body, it may indicate a possible breakdown of the immune system. I'm pretty concerned and am wondering if I should get tested again or get tested for other immune-system disorders? Also, is my condition (HIV-negative adult with widespread molluscum) unique? What else could be causing this? Thanks and keep up the good work!!!!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with the growths of another person. It is often sexually transmitted, but non-sexual transmission can also occur. Although they are sometimes found in just one part of the body, the growths are commonly found in multiple sites around the body. One cannot infect oneself with this virus. It is transmitted from an infected person to another. If a person has widespread, disseminated Molluscum infection, this could indicate a damaged immune system, especially if the symptoms are very severe. If your symptoms persist despite treatment, or if your physician tells you the infection is unusually severe, then you may consider getting tested for HIV, or other diseases of the immune system. But having this infection alone does not by itself indicate HIV infection, nor a damaged immune system. This infection is NOT limited to children. It can definitely be found in adults as well. It's important to remember that scratching the growths can help spread the infection around the body.

For more information about this infection, see the Question entitled, "Molluscum Contagium?".

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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