Interventions for molluscum contagiosum in people infected with human immunodeficiency virus: a systematic review

Int J Dermatol. 2016 Sep;55(9):956-66. doi: 10.1111/ijd.13267. Epub 2016 Mar 18.


Background: Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral skin disease that presents with white, painless papules with central umbilication. In immunocompent individuals, MC is usually a benign infection that resolves without intervention. In HIV positive people, symptoms of MC can be more severe.

Objective: The aim of this systematic review is to analyze the literature on strategies for treating MC in people concomitantly infected with HIV and subsequently make recommendations on best management strategies for these people.

Method: Searches were conducted of the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PubMed, LILACS, IndMED, Global Health, ClinicalTrials.Gov, and Current Controlled Trials. Grey literature was searched via the New York Academy of Medicine Grey Literature Report and Open Grey. References cited in previous reviews and references cited in studies identified as being possibly relevant were also reviewed. No language restrictions were imposed. Papers from 1980 to present were reviewed.

Results & discussion: Thirteen studies were included in this review. Two papers were comparative studies, one of which was randomized and neither of which were blinded. Ten papers were observational studies with heterogeneous populations. One study was a multicentre cohort study.

Conclusion: Given the poor quality of study design, wide array of outcome variables, and lack of objective evidence, no specific recommendation can be made for the treatment of MC in people infected with HIV, other than the initiation of ART. Despite the good impact ART has made on prevalence of dermatologic disease, MC remains an important cause of morbidity in HIV positive populations.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Coinfection
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Molluscum Contagiosum / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents