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Sexually Transmitted Diseases/HELP! im terrified that i may have contracted herpes


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thanks for taking the time to read this.
Well i guess ill start off with a little info on myself.
im 23 years old and im a gay man.
recently, ive been having random hook ups with men i dont know
and i know thats absolutely foolish.
but i use condoms everytime theres penetration, but ive also recieved oral and two days ago i recieved oral and today i noticed
red spots that look like clusters of little pimples mainly on my foreskin and a couple on the head of my penis.
im terrified i may have gotten herpes or something.

the red spots dont hurt or cause any discomfort.. i have had a history of getting what i believe to be yeast infection which i treated myself without going to the doctor because i dont have insurance. i got tested for stds and hiv including herpes and genital warts after what i thought was yeast infection had gone. and everything came back negative.
its been almost a year since then and ive had sexual ecounters since then and havent gotten test.. again very foolish.
i will get to the clinc to get test asap.
but i wanted to see if you could help me with some advice on what it could possibly be. thanks again for the help, this is very embarrassing for me but i dont know what else to do.

Hello John,
The fact that you believe that your random hookups are a source of anxiety and distress suggest that you may need to meet other guys in more meaningful ways, and you may benefit from counseling. The bottom line is that any type of sex, with condoms or without, are risky for acquiring certain STDs. Taking precautions may help reduce those risks, much like wearing seat belts when driving and not driving under the influence of alcohol. They are no guarantee!

However the rash you are now showing looks like a skin irritation from a skin fungus such as yeast, rather than herpes.

"Everything" tested for usually does not test for the things that you may think. Skin rashes from fungi are treated with the athlete's foot creams at the drug store: the best are terbinefine (Lamisil), tolnaftate (Tinactin), miconazole (Micatin). Avoid strong soap when washing penis, as this too can be irritating.

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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