Sexually Transmitted Diseases/redness and slight pain


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"I'm a 24 y/o sexually active male.  I was diagnosed with prostatitis about 10 weeks ago. I have been on 2 rounds of antibiotics for a total of 5 weeks.  I have now been off the medication (as of 3/21/2013) for about 2 full weeks.

I was tested for HIV, Hep A & B, syphillis, chlamydia & gonorrhea (NAAT Urine screen and swab on two separate occasions). I have also been tested for Herpes using IGG herpes select test at 10 weeks and 16 weeks.  I tested negative for antibodies on both occasions.

I saw a dermatologist about spots on my face, and redness in the rectal area.  He prescribed me naftin for a yeast infection in the rectal area, but he did not notice anything on the head of my penis.  They only appear to be this red after sexual stimulation, so i took these photos at home.

What does this redness look like?  Should I get retested for herpes, or could it be some form of HPV?

Hi Michael,
There is probably nothing wrong at all. REDNESS in the skin is usually from one of several things:
1) increased blood flow to the superficial capillaries in the skin, from stimulation or arousal, rubbing, certain medications,  localized warm temperatures, etc.  2) Thinner skin to reveal an apparent increased in redness, when in fact it may just be thinner skin; the more epithelial skin cells are on the skin, the thicker it is and less able to see underlying blood vessels-- and vice versa! 3) Real inflammation from an irritation or infection.

Trust the tests you already had, and the dermatologist who is an expert in the area of skin.

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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