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AIDS Treatment Data Network

(ATDN) Molluscum


Treatment Review #15; December 1994

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a common and difficult skin condition for people with HIV infection. It shows up as tiny bumps, often on the face. The bumps are known as lesions. The lesions usually occur as flesh-colored, pearly, raised but firm, non-tender nodules. Infection with the virus that causes MC is common in children. Lesions can appear on the face, arms, legs, and the skin between the genitals and anus. Some researchers think that 90% of adults have been infected with MC without the appearance of lesions.

Different treatments are available, although they are not always successful in getting rid of the molluscum, which can come back even when it's treated. Sometimes it goes away by itself, but not often. Some doctors use drops of liquid nitrogen to destroy molluscum lesions. Others apply a small electric current with a needle. Researchers do not know precisely how MC spreads. Some think it spreads from one region of the skin to another through cuts in the skin. So if you have MC on your face, shaving may cause it to spread. Discuss with your doctor whether it would be helpful to use an antibiotic solution like Betadine scrub on your face before shaving. Peeling agents are sometimes used to remove the lesions. Larger lesions usually require local anesthetic, and cutting or scraping. The doctor or dermatologist has to remove the core, or body of the lesion to be certain it is gotten rid of. Sometimes this is done with an electric charge with a small needle to the top of the lesion, followed by cutting out the core of the molluscum. This kind of surgical removal can be painful and take a long time, because there can be hundreds of the tiny lesions. But if less intrusive treatments don't work, this may be necessary.


Copyright © 1994 -AIDS Treatment Data Network, Publisher. All rights reserved to AIDS Treatment Data Network. Reproduction of this article (other than one copy for personal reference) must be cleared through the AIDS Treatment Data Network. Email AIDS Treatment Data Network

Information in this article was accurate in December 1, 1994. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.