Molluscum contagiosum (MC, also known as water warts) is a common viral infection, which results in a skin disease. Small papules usually appear on exposed skin such as the torso, thighs, genitalia and anus, around 2 to 8 weeks after initial infection with the virus. The pearl-shaped papules are usually between 1 to 5 millimetres in diameter, are filled with a gungy, white, contagious, fluid, and often appear in clusters.
MC can be transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact and also indirectly through sharing towels, baths or clothing with someone infected. It is not strictly an STD as it often occurs in children, especially those prone to skin conditions such as eczema. Children are more likely to assist transmission by scratching the infected sites, although it should be noted that the chance of passing on the virus is small.
MC is grouped with STDs because of the risk of transmission through close body contact during sex, which is why it is often screened for in sexual health clinics. The risk of becoming infected with MC can be reduced by: