Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Glans color


Hi Mark,

A couple months ago I was diagnosed with chlamydia. One of the symptoms was itching and red glans. After taking the treatment, the pain, itching, discharge and everything else went away and I tested negative afterwards. The only thing that disturbs me is that the upper side of my glans is still a bit more red than the sides of it. However, it doesn't itch, nor is it more sensitive. Sometimes it's not even visible, it becomes more visible after showering. I am uncircumcised and in my 20s.
Should I worry about this, even though there's no pain, itching, swelling or anything else? I read that the skin might take a couple months to fully regain its original color and that sometimes it happens that the colors will never again fully match up. I would attach a picture too, but I think it is too mild and it doesn't really show on the photo.
One more thing that might be important is that initially my doctor thought it was balanitis, so I was using antifungal cream for a while and that dried out my glans too much, so then I had to use some 1% hydrocortisone which solved that issue. Is it possible that the dryness did some harm too?


Hi Trevor,
Redness by itself is only due to inflammation, thinner skin so underlying blood vessels are more apparent and make the skin look redder, or dilated blood vessels, which do the same. Chlamydia by itself is an inflammatory condition that can cause some redness, but more usually swelling and of course, a discharge. Don't be alarmed, as you do not have a recurrence of chlamydia-- unless you may have been reinfected!  

Skin fungi that commonly cause balanitis can also cause redness; steroid creams can also cause redness! And of course, normal variations in skin, sex, diet, etc., all can cause blood capillary dilation and redness.

Good luck!  I would not worry about it!

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Mark P. Behar


Almost any question or concern about gay men's health issues, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal Pap smears, anal cytology (anal "Pap smears"), etc. There is no such thing as “d/d free” or “clean” (free of infection), so why do so many of us deceive ourselves into thinking that some people are indeed totally free from a potentially infectious disease, like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, warts, gonorrhea, etc., just because they say so? Clinical laboratory tests are not perfect, and having a “negative” or “nonreactive” test does not mean that a person is free from infection. Perhaps at the moment the test was taken, the person was uninfected; or, perhaps, the test wasn’t sensitive enough to detect presence of the infection. There is really no way that anyone can determine that they are truly “disease free,” and there are over a hundred of infectious conditions that can be spread without your knowing anything. Rather than trying to “pre-screen” or “serosort” a potential sex-mate with deceptive questions that are impossible to know by today’s technologies, a wiser option may be to consider everyone infected with something, and either use appropriate protective measures (“safer sex”), or accept the responsibility and consequences of possibly “catching” something from someone who’s hotter than expected (pun intended!). There is much research that supports the contention that an HIV positive person reliably taking HIV medications, and having an undetectable viral load, presents a lower risk for transmission of HIV than people who may think or say they are HIV negative, but are not. Food for thought!


Family Practice PA since 1981; Volunteer Clinician for Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic, Milwaukee, since 1977; answered STD questions submitted to their web site. Professionally lectured at national and regional Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner conferences, and at national gay & lesbian health conferences on topics including HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, STDs, human papilloma virus (the cause of venereal warts), abnormal Pap smears, gay and lesbian health issues, among others.

Co-Founder, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Gay Physician Assistant Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Inc.; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants; National Co-Chair (2012-16), National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay, Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT)

Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAPA) Q Visions, Quarterly Newsletter of the NABWMT

Bachelor's of Arts, 1972 (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Graduate Credits Experimental Psychology, 1972-75 (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) Physician Assistant, Bachelor's of Science, 1981 (George Washington University, Washington, DC); Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, 2000 (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE)

Awards and Honors
Colposcopy Recognition Award (CRA), the American Association of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; Distinguished Fellow, Clinical Preceptor, American Academy of Physician Assistants; Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants

Past/Present Clients
Brady East STD Clinic, Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (Martin Luther King Heritage Health Center), Dept. of Family Medicine and Early Intervention Program for HIV Infected Persons

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