Molluscum contagiosum is rarer in adults than in children, so it is likely that immunity develops where there are no obvious lesions. This may be supported by the fact that an Australian study found nearly 23% percent of the subjects tested positive for the molluscum contagiosum virus' (MCV) antibodies in their blood serum (the plasma of the blood with the fibrinogens, a type of protein, removed), while only 35 of the 357 subjects had been diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, meaning that the virus can be present in the body while not showing noticeable papules (raised bumps). The number of cases appearing in young adult patients of gynaecology, dermatology, sexual health, and obstetrics clinics appears to be growing, however. Their papules often appear on or surrounding the genital regions and it is likely that the virus was transmitted sexually in such cases. More rarely, MCV virus is passed from child to caregiver via breastfeeding or other physical contact. Anecdotally, pregnant women seem to be more vulnerable to MCV. The virus can be passed on at birth, but it is not common and does not merit measures such as a caesarean section as it does not risk the health of either mother or infant.
Treatment options are less limited than for children because adults generally have a higher pain tolerance and an ability to make informed decisions about risks and benefits. It is also more likely to be recommended in order to prevent further sexual transmission. There are few treatments actually recommended for the genital area, however: physical methods such as curettage (scraping off the papules), cryotherapy (killing the virus by freezing), or squeezing out the core; or topical (applied directly to the papules) treatments such as salicylic acid, silver nitrate paste, cantharidin, and Trichloroacetic acid are irritating or painful. Some also have a risk of scarring. Podofilox may be prescribed. It is frequently used to treat genital warts and is a purified form of the main ingredient in podophyllin (an agent that causes skin to loosen and fall off). For three consecutive days, 0.05ml of 5% podofilox is applied to the lesions (skin abnormalities). Its effects on unborn or nursing children are unknown, so it is unsuitable for pregnant or nursing women and all others woman must be using a reliable method of birth control while being treated.
You should avoid sexual activity of you have any lesions in the genital area, at least until you have seen a medical professional. Should you engage in sexual activity, you should inform your partner about your lesions and explain the risks and safer sex practices (only having one, uninfected, monogamous partner and using a barrier method such as a condom or a dental dam, a piece of latex or silicone that acts a barrier between the bodily fluids of the mouth, anus, and vulva during oral sex) should always be used.
If you have any persistent (lasting more than a few days) skin abnormalities in the genital area, it is very important that you see a healthcare professional. Genital acne, genital warts, pearly penile papules can and have all been confused with molluscum papules. Some of these are more or less severe or easily transmitted than molluscum contagiosum, and can require different treatment (or no treatment at all!).