Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR
Thanks to our most recent submission to the STI Interviews, we now have a male’s perspective about living with molluscum contagiosum.
Molluscum doesn’t get a lot of attention, and the people who contract it can feel incredibly alone because of the lack of information, support groups, and stories available in print or on the internet. As a result, it’s quite easy to feel isolated in the struggle to clear the virus.
This gentleman was willing to share his story and was a bit worried because he wasn’t able to share something happy or hopeful – especially not while in the midst of battling an infection. I reassured him the act of putting his story in writing can help begin the mental healing process and others would be so thankful to know they are not alone in feeling depressed as well.
This is his story.
1. How old are you?
32 years old
2. What do you do for a living?
3. What STD do you have/have you had?
Molluscum Contagiosum (MC)
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD?
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD?
No idea who or when.
I also have two children who came down with it around the same time – might have caught it from them.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD?
It’s caused me to go into a severe depression. I got a particularly bad case which involved my face as well as almost every part of my body. Due to the sensitive nature, I told only my girlfriend.
It was an incredible burden to bear on my own; so, when we broke up, I had a few bad outbreaks and I told a few close friends.
It’s become a constant life altering disease for me with no signs of when it will end.
I’ve shut out family and friends around me in fear I will infect them, or because my appearance will cause questions.
I am off of work, because I work in a job with a ton of direct skin to skin contact with people, including co workers. If I ever infected someone, I would feel horrible.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
One of my friends wouldn’t let my kids in her house, because she feared it might infect her.
I’m just starting to tell a few friends, so, I guess we will see. I don’t think it will affect the close friends I have.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STD? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I tried many, but not all of the herbal remedies online. Nothing had any effect. I chose to take them off myself, and I am unsure if that caused them to spread.
It gets better, then just as quickly, I’ll have another outbreak.
The thing with MC is there are a hundred different remedies ,and one might work for you. Or, maybe it was time that cleared it up. Who knows.
9. Has having an STD hindered past relationships?
Absolutely; sex is a big deal for me, and to suddenly have to stop for a period of time that could be years is a huge burden to bear.
The mental depression was a huge factor in my relationship ending.
You can’t help but feel like a leper.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD affected your partner?
No, after my last relationship ended, I decided, in order to be at my best to meet someone, I needed to get rid of this virus first. Without doing that, my mental health isn’t good enough to enter a new relationship.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD whom you did not tell you had an STD?
Yes, initially with my girlfriend.
First I was told it was not contagious by the doctor. Then, after reading up more on it, I was told by the doctor if you had chicken pox in childhood you were immune. Obviously, that isn’t the case.
There were a few points during the last 10 months in which I thought it had gone away and did have sex. However, as soon as I saw one, I stopped immediately.
Now it will take an all clear from a dermatologist and a few months of being clear before I feel it is safe.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD?
Most notably would be the depression. It seems silly since it’s a benign virus and self limiting, but these bumps mess with your head. They make you feel contagious (which you are) and destroy your self image and confidence.
I was holding it together alright until they started appearing on my face. After I couldn’t hide them anymore, I started withdrawing from social gatherings.
In retrospect, I should have told at least one close friend to begin with. One of the hardest parts is suffering in silence. You have no idea how much of an impact it is on your life until you get them and support is needed.
Sexually, I was getting by on my own means, so I didn’t go crazy…until the bumps started appearing downstairs (mine had been gone for a few months). Now, I can’t even masturbate, which, would be more uncomfortable if the Zoloft treating my depression didn’t also kill my libido.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with The STI Project?
It’s a fairly common virus, so I’m sure there are many people out there that get a minor quick case, which they deal with right away at the doctor and go on their lives.
Unfortunately, for me, that hasn’t been the case.
The biggest challenge for me has been accepting what happened and that there is very little I can do about it until my body deals with the virus. I know reading the internet is full of horror stories and mine doesn’t seem much different. I guess, I have found, in reading these stories, it has helped me mentally prepare for a long road. I don’t get as freaked out now about hiding in my house, because there are at least a few friends who know what’s going on.
Can you relate to this interviewee? Did it help you to read someone else’s story? Have you experienced something similar or do you have some feedback to share with this individual? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!