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There are a range of bugs and viruses that you can catch during sex. Learn about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), how to prevent them, how to diagnose them and how they are treated.

Molluscum Contagiosum

What is it?

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a skin infection which can affect the cock, arse, vagina or front-hole as well as the thighs and abdominal area.

How do you get it?

You can only get MC from contact with someone who has MC — by skin-to-skin contact during sex or by touching objects that have the virus on them, such as towels, clothing or bedding. You can also spread MC to different parts of your body by scratching infected areas and touching other body parts.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can appear between two to 12 weeks after exposure, appearing as painless, firm, round, flesh-coloured lumps with a central dimple. These can appear around the cock, arse, vagina or front-hole, and sometimes on the thighs or abdominal areas.

Diagnosis and treatment

A doctor diagnoses MC by examining the lumps. While the lumps can disappear on their own within a few months, a doctor can freeze them off or discuss other treatment options such as dermal creams or laser therapy.

How do you prevent it?

The most effective way to prevent MC is by thoroughly washing your hands with warm soapy water. Using condoms and dams during sex can help reduce the risk. However, MC can still spread even when these barriers are used.

MC is not routinely tested for, but going for regular sexual health tests and talking with your doctor can help identify MC before it becomes a problem and helps prevent it from spreading.