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Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Random itchy spot on my penis, I'm a little worried!



Hello Mark, just now, I've had a bit of an itch right below the head of my penis, so I've been kind of rubbing and scratching it without thinking about it, then I put some saliva on there, and rubbed and scratched a bit harder, then I realized that I've been rubbing it for more than a couple minutes, looked down at the spot, and it was kind of red-ish.
I just turned 24, had five partners. First girl, I don't know full history of her, I do know that she's been with many guys. We used condoms, but one time it ripped, and we realized it after sex was over. She said she got tested after we stopped having sex, and she was clean. Second girl, I know full history of her, we always used condoms, and she was clean when she got tested after we stopped having sex. Third girl, I know her full history, we had sex without condoms, and she said she was clean. Fourth girl, I don't know her full history, she did tell me she had lots of partners, and we successfully used condoms. Fifth girl, she's my current girlfriend, I know her full story, she's never tested, but always used condoms with previous partners, and we have sex without condoms.
I may be paranoid because she's been saying her vagina sores once in a while when we have sex, it got really itch and red and swollen one time, but it went away after a week and never happened again, and we think it was just yeast infection, which is cured now, but she did ask me if I'm completely sure that I'm clean.
As for my penis, it really has no visible or significant spots or bumps. Once in a while it does get quite itch right below the head of my penis, but applying some cold water or saliva on that itch spot and leaving it alone usually deals with the itchiness.
I haven't touched my penis for 20-ish minutes, and the itchiness is mostly gone, and I think the redness has somewhat disappeared as well.
I'll include two pictures, first one is when it was the most itchy, and second one is when the itchiness is gone.
Do you suspect that I may need to get checked up, or is it just a skin irritation?

Hello Brandon,
Please do not use the term "clean" to denote freedom from sexually transmitted diseases (disease free"), as there are no ways to assure yourself that a person is ever "free from all possible STDs" even with testing done immediately before sex. "Clean" is freedom from dirt after bathing or laundering, nothing more. And, no matter what you think you know, you can't know your partner's "full story," unless you are a Siamese twin. It suggests that you demand a certain level of control that is manipulative and unhealthy.

The red area may be related to a skin irritation from a skin fungus. However other causes may be to blame. Do you have any other skin conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff, facial or chest rash), psoriasis, eczema? Sometimes these may also manifest themselves on the skin of your penis with this type of redness. Wait a week or so, and see if everything heals up. If it gets worse, than you may need to have your doctor take a look.

Good luck!

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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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