Dr. Bob

This forum you have created is incredible. Just reading the different posts helps with needed information. Thank you for all you do.

No sex police with me (hetero) but I can say no condom failures BUT small 3 hr old paper slices / dried peeled back skin on fingers at times (vaginally insertive) and a few unprotected blow jobs.


At what point does molluscum become indicative of HIV. I have developed 11 molluscum warts (pin head) on my lower stomach/upper groin (not on penis). Should I be worried of HIV?

What other STDs manifest with molluscum?

Thanks Doctor!



Are you back again so soon?

  1. Molluscum is not "indicative" of HIV. Molluscum is an entirely different disease. See below. In someone who is immune compromised molluscum contagiosum and be more severe, persistent and difficult to treat.

  2. Should you be worried about HIV? No, certainly not because of your 11 pinhead molluscum lesions!

  3. What other STDs manifest themselves with molluscum? None. As mentioned above, molluscum contagiosum is a separate disease entity.

Dr. Bob

Molluscum April 16, 2010

What Is Molluscum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection. It is caused by a virus. Molluscum causes small bumps (lesions) to appear on the skin. Most of them are less than half an inch in diameter. They have a hard white core. Some lesions have a small dent or dimple in the center. The lesions are the same color as normal skin, but they look waxy. They usually don't hurt or itch.

The molluscum virus is very common, and almost everyone has it in his or her body. A healthy immune system will control molluscum so that if lesions appear, they do not last a long time. People with weakened immune systems can develop molluscum lesions that spread, last a long time, and are very difficult to treat. About 20% of people with AIDS will develop molluscum.

Molluscum is not a serious health problem. However, many people find the molluscum lesions to be very unattractive. This can cause serious emotional or psychological problems.

How Does Molluscum Spread?

Molluscum can be spread by direct skin contact. It often spreads through sexual activity. Molluscum can infect any part of the skin, but it is especially common on the face or in the groin and pubic areas.

It can be spread from existing lesions to other parts of the body or to other people. It can also be spread by objects (or clothing) that came in contact with a lesion.

Men with HIV often develop molluscum on their face. Shaving with a razor blade can spread it.

How Do I Know if I Have Molluscum?

A health care provider can easily identify molluscum lesions. They are waxy, flesh-colored bumps that don't hurt or itch. There are only one or two other infections that cause skin problems that look at all similar to molluscum.

How Is Molluscum Treated?

Molluscum lesions are treated the same way as warts. Unfortunately, the lesions often return and need to be treated again.

They can be frozen with liquid nitrogen. This is the most common method of treatment. They can be burned with an electric needle (electrocautery) or a laser. This treatment can be painful and sometimes leaves scars. They can be treated with chemicals used on warts such as trichloroacetic acid (TCA), podophyllin, or podofilox. These chemicals cannot be used on sensitive skin or near the eyes. They can be cut or "scooped" out surgically. This treatment can be painful and can leave scars. They can be treated with drugs used to treat acne such as tretinoin (Retin-A) or isotretinoin (Accutane). This is a newer approach. These drugs reduce the amount of oil in the skin. The top layer of skin dries out and peels off. These drugs can cause redness and soreness. Retin-A is a cream that is put onto the lesions. Accutane is taken in pill form. Another approach is to use the antiviral medications cidofovir, cantharidin or imiquimod. These drugs are applied directly onto the lesions. They can cause local skin irritation.

Can Molluscum Be Prevented?

Because the virus that causes molluscum is so common, it is not possible to avoid being exposed to it. However, if you have molluscum you should make sure that the lesions don't touch anyone else. You should also be careful not to spread molluscum to different parts of your body.

Be careful not to scratch the lesions or to cut them while shaving. Some health care providers think that using an electric shaver helps prevent the spread of molluscum.

Drug Interaction Problems

The acne drugs tretinoin (Retin-A) and isotretinoin (Accutane) tend to dry out the skin. Dry skin is also a side effect of the protease inhibitor indinavir (Crixivan) and some other antiretroviral medications (ARVs). If you use Retin-A or Accutane to treat molluscum along with ARVs that can cause dry skin, your skin problems could get worse.

The Bottom Line

Molluscum is a viral infection that can produce skin lesions. Although they are not medically dangerous, the lesions can cause serious emotional and psychological problems.

Molluscum can be spread from person to person by direct skin contact. It can be spread during sexual activity. If you have molluscum, you can spread the lesions to new areas if you shave with a blade.

Molluscum lesions are removed in the same ways as warts. Unfortunately, they often return and have to be treated again.

In response Molluscum 2010!!! May 9, 2010

I apologize if I seemed unwilling to accept responsability for my own actions. This is not the way I wanted it to sound or to come across.

Ive read alot about molluscum and ive read even your responses that say it is spread by skin to skin contact. This girlfriend was someone I have been with for two years. Monogomus on my part. If not from her then from where? If I owe anyone an apology I am more than happy to break out my checkbook of apologies. But the anixety is killing me.

With the swollen lymph node in my left armpit and the muscle aches along with the other symtpoms I have been feeling. Is it anxiety related....ok more than likely. I respect what you do but if putting myself at risk meant having sex with the woman I was going to marry, then I assume full responseability. I just thought it was supposed to work out differently than this.

I am sending another donation, I know you here this alot but I have been a big suporter of HIV research for a long time. No matter what my test results come out to be, I will fully support your campiagn untill the day I die.

Thanks again.

	Response from Dr. Frascino


Molluscum contagiosum is not a difficult diagnosis to confirm. If your ex doesn't have it, you couldn't have gotten it from her. It's that simple. Yes, molluscum is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. I'm assuming some other human being has touched your skin sometime over the past few years. That's all it takes. So your question -- "If not from her then from where? -- becomes rather nonsensical, right?

I understand you're anxious about your condition, but I'd keep that "checkbook of apologies" handy.

As for "sex with the woman I was going to marry," yep, unsafe sex is still your choice and your responsibility. As you can see life doesn't always work out as planned. In fact, it rarely works out as planned!

I agree your "symptoms" are most likely anxiety related.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck/good-health karma that you are now and will always be HIV free. (Please note this good-luck karma has never failed to my knowledge!)

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

I need help please (MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM, 2010) May 8, 2010

About 2-3 months ago I came down with a case of Molluscum. I was orginally diagonised with folliculitis and then it switched to molluscum which was confirmed by biopsy.

Not being sure where this came from I blamed my ex-girlfriend. A few days after this she claims she went and got a HIV test done and was checked for molluscum herself. She claims she had no bumps on her and her doctor explained that it is not a Asympotmatic virus so there is no way she could have transfered it to me. 2 days later she claims she got her HIV test back and that it was negative.

I waited for a long time but decided I needed to have a HIV test myself. I finally got the guts to go get one but I am really almost sure this one is going to come out positive. Because of my exgirlfriend expiditious test results I do not believe she was ever tested. The day after I got my test my left armpit is so sore its hard to pick my arm up. It came out of no where.

I also have a scratcy throat. I am sure I am positive! But I wanted your advice while I am waiting on my test results.

Thank you ahead of time donation is sent.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I think you may owe your ex-girlfriend an apology! Molluscum are quite easy to contract and the vast majority of cases have absolutely nothing to do with HIV! (See below.)

As for your girlfriend's "expidious" test results, rapid HIV tests provide results in as few as 20 minutes.

The only reason to worry about HIV is if you placed yourself at risk for acquiring the virus. If you have, you should blame only yourself and get HIV tested three months or longer from your last potential exposure. If you haven't placed yourself at risk, you shouldn't fear being HIV infected.

Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. Take a read through the archives of this forum. You should find the information there both enlightening and reassuring.

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's very much appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that you are now and will always be HIV free!

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

please please answer my question (MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM) Mar 29, 2009

dr. bob first i have to say that this is great work that you do here, my situation is the following I have never had unprotected sex with any women, however I have performed unprotected cunnilingus on several women, I however have come down with Molluscum contagiosum on my penis, from what my dermatologist tells me this is most likely sexually transmitted, my question is could this virus have gotten through the condom? or could I have gotten it some other way, also I read this is a first marker of hiv infection but I am confused if they are referring to the primary infection or to a later infection, I hope you will answer, but I understand if you don't, because you have a lot of questions to answer, I hope when I gain some economic stability to donate to your wonderful organization

sorry i forgot to add another question (Submitted Mar 28, 2009)

sorry remember me (i just wrote you about Molluscum contagiosum) about this I know i've already sent you one, will Molluscum contagiosum cause a false positive? thanks once again, I know i should just get tested but I'm just waiting for the three months to pass by (in which i have chosen to remain celibate) so i don't really go out and have become increasingly scared that i may have hiv from my promiscuous behavior with promiscuous people so i surf the web for information and this is as good a site as i have found on any subject may you keep living and doing a wonderful work for a long long time

Response from Dr. Frascino


Molluscum contagiosum cannot permeate intact latex or polyurethane. No way. No how. This type of infection is spread by skin-to-skin contact. (See below.) It can occur in neggies or virally enhanced folks. In people with compromised immune systems from any cause, Molluscum contagiosum can be more severe and difficult to treat.

Molluscum contagiosum will not alter the results of HIV tests whatsoever.

Dr. Bob

Not in Archives! Molluscum contagiousm (sp?) Jun 17, 2007

I'm a sexually active male who has NEVER had intercourse without a condom. In the last month, I've noticed that I've contracted molluscum below my belly button and on my pelvis and inner thigh. Reading up on this, some sites say this disease is associated with HIV. WHAT???? I'm totally freaking out Bob, my heart rate is going supersonic! Does this mean that I may have contracted HIV???

Response from Dr. Frascino


Calm that "supersonic" heart rate down. The vast majority of cases of molluscum contagiosum have absolutely nothing to do with HIV! Molluscum contagiosum is a generally benign skin disease caused by a human poxvirus that is transmitted by close contact. And that includes sex! Swimming pools are another common vector for transmission. Skin that is inflamed or whose integrity is comprised in some other way is more susceptible. The incubation period is two weeks to six months. In most cases the disease is self-limited and resolves spontaneously in three to four months in folks with normal immune systems.

As for the HIV connection, molluscum contagiosum occurs with increased frequency in HIVers with advanced-stage disease and compromised immune systems. In AIDS patients the disease is more generalized, severe and persistent.

So does having molluscum contagiosum mean you have contracted HIV??? The short answer is no. The longer answer is nope.

Dr. Bob