STDs Expert Forum
Question about Molluscum (MC)
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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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Question about Molluscum (MC)

Dear Forum M.D. HHH,

Last summer, my boyfriend had MC in the groin and lower stomach area, but not actually on his genitals.  Discarding the idea that it could be an STI - we've been in a committed relationship for nearly three years - we did some research and decided it was folliculitis.  He had lesions for about 2 months, and I believe that I contracted it as well.  

I say that I "believe" I contracted it as well because I had a few lesions in my pubic hair area.  I never went to the doctor because the lesions went away and I wasn't bothered by them.  Please keep in mind that we assumed this was folliculitis.

Well, my boyfriend had it much worse than I did - up to 25 lesions at a time - so he went to his doctor after about 2 months.  Diagnosis: MC.  The doctor scraped off the lesions and after a few weeks we were completely rid of the problem.  

My question:  In your answer to "justanotherguy" you said that MC manifested in the groin region of adults is "almost entirely sexually acquired."  Considering that I have never been unfaithful to my boyfriend, should I be suspicious that he was?  

Of course he swears he never messed around on me, and although we're in a long-distance relationship I believed him.  
Having read elsewhere that MC as an STI is "trivial," I thought maybe he got it at at his gym.  So, what do you think?  What are the chances he contracted MC by any means other than sex?  Obviously, I need to know the truth in order to protect myself from possibly acquiring a "less trivial" STI from him in the future.  

Thank you for your attention.
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I probably should have been a bit more cautious in my terminology in responding to "justanotherguy".  As I said there and elsewhere, all we know about genital-area molluscum contagiosum in adults is based on the clinical impressions of people like me; there has been no research to speak of.

It probably is possible that some MC in adults indeed is acquired by exposure to contaminated moist towels or other nonsexual exposure, perhaps especially in moist, humid environments.  Other cases might be due to exposure to an infected child, followed by scratching the genital area.  These are speculations and I suspect they are uncommon, but we just don't know.

Or maybe you unknowingly brought the infection into your relationship.  The large number of lesions in your boyfriend, while you had few lesions, suggests the possibility that you had a chronic or recurrent infection, presumably from a former sex partner.  This would be supported if his problem began pretty soon, say only a few weeks, after you started sleeping together, and if you had other partners within the several months before that.

The bottom line is that we just don't know all the ins and outs of this STD.  Happily, it isn't serious.  You know your boyfriend and your relationship infinitely better than I do.  But if you believe and trust him, you probably are right.

Good luck--   HHH, MD
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