Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Red dots on penis head


Red dots on penis
Red dots on penis  
Red dots on penis
Red dots on penis  
QUESTION: I am 35, married, and am circumcised. I recently noticed a few red dots on the head of my penis. There is no pain, itching, discharge, pain when urinating, no pustules, or anything negative other than the actually appearance.

I do shave my pubic area and have lots of sex with my wife. I thought they could be more of a friction/rubbing irritation of some sort but was still concerned. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

ANSWER: Hello Bob,
My guess is that lack of lubrication may have caused a bit of irritation. I will presume that both you and your wife do not have sex with anyone else. If you do, than this may reflect a sexually transmitted infection, although I doubt it.  The red areas look that way because the skin may be a bit thinner allowing underlying blood vessels to appear closer to the surface, and therefore redder. Use lubricant, and after a bath or shower, you may wish to apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment or cream to the skin for a week or so.

Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What kind of STD could it be? I sent a pic/question to the dermatologist expert on this site. He said it's likely Balanitis. So I am going to try a few days of Lotrimin to see if it clears it up. If nothing happens then I will see a dermatologist next week. Or do you think going to my GP first would be better? I am on a PPO health plan so no referrals are needed.

It hasn't gotten any better or worse from 2 days ago when I first noticed it. It doesn't itch, burn, or bother me at all. I am just glad I noticed it when I did, otherwise I would have had no clue that I had anything going on down there.

Hello Again, Bob,
Balanitis is merely an inflammation of the skin, frequently caused by a skin fungus. Lotrimin is not one of the better topical antifungal medications. It contains an active ingredient that many skin fungi are now resistant to. I would try terbinefine (Lamisil), tolnaftate (Tinactin), or miconazole (Micatin), all of which may be stronger than clotrimazole (Lotrimin).

Skin fungi causing balanitis are usually not thought of as an STD.

A dermatologist would be better, since they deal with skin. GPs may be fine if they have the experience. I think I would try a conservative therapy first... like TIME!! Maybe with a more effective topical antifungal!

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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