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Herpes or Molluscum?
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Herpes or Molluscum?

I have a series of spots on my belly just above and in my pubic area that I am quite sure are molluscum. They have not really caused me any concern apart from being slightly unsightly. What is of concern though are the spots that I have seen on the underside of the shaft of my penis from time to time. Occasionally I have found a single spot, but only ever one at a time. Sometimes they have looked like a pimple, though a little red, and have cleared up in a couple of days. On one occasion recently I noticed a raised white lump near the head of my penis, it stayed the same for a week or so and then became a scab which took another week or so to heal, during which time I thought it looked a bit like the mollusca on my belly as it was raised with the dimple in the middle. A couple of other times some spots have ended up with scabs on them, I considered that perhaps they had been
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I'm not sure I can help much; no online doc can make a definitive diagnosis by online description, and I'm not going to try.  But some clues:

1) Molluscum contagiosum lesions always last at least 2-3 weeks, probably usually for several weeks; something that appears as a red bump and is gone in a few days is definitely not MC.  MC isn't just any red bump; it has a typical, shiny appearance, often with a dimple in the center.

2) Herpes is highly variable, but most genital herpes lesions on dry skin (penis, etc) start as red bump, become blister-like with clear fluid, then turn yellowish as the fluid inside turns to pus, then develops a scab--all evolving over 7-12 days.  Also, herpes lesions are superficial, appearing more "on" the skin (versus pimples or folliculitis, which are deeper, sort of "in" the skin).

3) Herpes lesions are not widely scattered.  Herpes outbreaks are discrete, last several days, and virtually always involve a cluster of lesions that always reappear in pretty much the same spot.  Recurrences always occur on one side of the body's midline (or up to the midline), but never on both sides of the penis, labia, buttocks, etc.  In between such discrete outbreaks, which usually occur roughly every 6-12 weeks, things are entirely normal.

So those may be clues that help you figure out the possibilities.  If in doubt, follow up with your provider; and if unsure of his/her expertise, ask for referral to a dermatologist.  If herpes seems a possibility, a blood test can sort it out.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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When I had Molluscum, I had from time to time one on the shaft of my penis but I never had any just go away by themselves,  I left one on there for about a month once just to see if it would go away and it never did,  all of mine were removed,  probably about 50 total.  I'm not sure what kind of skin you have but I did notice that the ones on my penis were a little easier to break the skin in order to remove the core but it took effort,  I don't think "normal" friction alone would have removed it.  At least in my case.  I also didn't usually wait around to see what would happen.  I removed any new Molluscum I saw within a few days.
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Hello Doctor, I hope it is not too late to further question on my post.

I am the UK and recieved my HSV test results from a GUM clinic and I was rather relieved to see they were negative. They came back as follows

HSV-1 IgG (In House blocking EIA) - Negative (6.5% inhibition)
HSV-2 IgG (In House blocking EIA) - Negative (13.5% inhibition)
Anti-HSV IgG (Dade Behring EIA) - Negative (OD/CO: 0.030)

I do not believe this is the herpeselect test however I am told that it is reliable. It has been 8 months since my last possible exposure and so I would have expected to developed positive anti-bodies to any infection by now. I have read from some of your previous answers that with a negative result for both types of HSV, there is a minimal chance of one of them being a false negative, and I can be confident I am not infected.

Given these test results can I be confident I am not infected?

Thanks and Regards


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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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