Yes and no.
Molluscum contagiosum can be considered an STD when transmitted sexually. Though it can be spread from one person to another through sexual contact, but this can be avoided in many cases.
Molluscum contagiosum can also be spread in other ways, such as touching, in which case it is not considered an STD.
Regardless of whether it is technically an STD or not, it can be treated the same in most cases.
What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease commonly spread through clothing or skin-to-skin contact. Those infected often show pink, white, or flesh-colored bumps on the skin with a small indentation in the middle. The bumps are filled with a white substance that contains the virus.
The bumps are usually painless and often appear at numbers between 10 and 20, with exception to more severe cases (for instance HIV/AIDS patients) where the virus spreads to the face and other parts of the body and more bumps are present.
Children typically develop bumps on the face, chest, back, legs, and arms. The bumps can develop into larger lesions over a period of several weeks. The virus can present from several weeks to four or five years. Molluscum contagiosum affects both men and women of all ages.
What is an STD?
An STD, or sexually transmitted disease, is caused by an infection that is spread from person to person during sexual contact. This includes vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex. Both men and women can contract STDs.
The causes of STDs can be bacterial, viral, yeast, or parasitic. There is no cure for STDs caused by viruses, but some medications and home remedies may help to keep the disease symptoms under control. These infections often show no symptoms, therefore increasing the risk of passing on the infection.
Symptoms of a disease may include vaginal or penile discharge, ulcers near the genital area, or pelvic pain. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including Chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, and syphilis.
Even if you do not show the symptoms, you can find out if you have an STD by visiting a public health clinic or your doctor. Your doctor can diagnose if you have an STD or not from a blood test or by simply looking at the affected area. These methods vary, as other tests include swabbing a sample from the inside of your cheek or examining the genital area.
How is Molluscum Contagiosum Transmitted?
Molluscum contagiosum is most commonly transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. People can also contract Molluscum contagiosum by touching objects or clothing with the virus on them; for instance wrestlers from a wrestling mat. The virus can be spread from person to person, or from one part of the body to another. It is also possible to contract the virus through sexual contact if one’s partner has Molluscum contagiosum lesions on the body, specifically near the genital or oral area. It is assumed that as long as the virus is present on the body, it is contagious.
Adults with healthy immune systems rarely show the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum. Those whose immune symptoms are compromised (i.e. from severe illnesses, cancer, HIV/AIDS) are more often to show full-blown Molluscum contagiosum signs and symptoms.
How Can I Get Rid of Molluscum Contagiosum?
There are several treatments available for molluscum contagiosum, as well as tips to prevent spreading of the virus. Treatments include freezing, cutting, or using over-the-counter products. People with weakened immune systems who have a more serious form of molluscum contagiosum may need prescribed medications.
To prevent spreading, wash your hands and affected area often and do not scratch or pick at affected areas. It is recommended to keep the area covered with a clean bandage and to replace it often. Do not share clothes or towels and keep the area clean and moisturized if dry. Do not shave over the affected areas. Proper usage of latex condoms can greatly reduce, though not completely eliminate, the risk of spreading the disease if bumps are present on the male genital area.