Sexually Transmitted Diseases/bumps on head of penis


QUESTION: I recently noticed well today a row of bumps, itch like crazy but nothing else. I put some anti itch cream on it and it helped bur unsure of what it is. I will attach some photos thanks in advance.....

ANSWER: Hello Matt,
You didn't tell me about any recent sexual activities or skin-to-skin contact.  An itchy, bumpy, linear rash like you have in the top image may be scabies, a microscopic skin parasite that can be spread during sex or just sleeping together without sex. The bottom image looks a little less inflamed, but the corona (rim below the inked circle) looks irritated!  Do you have any itchy rashes anywhere else on the skin? An accurate diagnosis is needed to make sure the treatment is effective!

Good luck!

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

QUESTION: No rash anywhere else on the skin, however I did go to the ER today as I was worried that it could be a std, the said its not but its inflamed due to well alot of masturbation as I am recently single and the woman I met lives in another state. I got cephalexin and bactrine zinc cream spelling is incorrect I believe.

Hello Matt,
Too bad you went to the emergency department, as they treated you with an antibiotic (cephalexin) without evidence of your having an infection?  Did they do any tests or tell you there was evidence of an STD?  Inflammation from a excessive rubbing is not treated with an antibiotic! <sigh!> Emergency rooms are for EMERGENCIES. An STD may be uncomfortable, but it isn't an emergency requiring services of doctors who are not well trained in STDs. Emergencies are high fever, pneumonia, acute asthma, chest pain, appendicitis, broken bones, car accidents, traumatic injuries, etc.  Hopefully, everything will get better in spite of what they did. If the itching and rash persist, than you need to have your doctor consider scabies, and provide you with effective treatment.

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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