Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Is genital herpes?


QUESTION: Hello all,

I'm currently in a committed relationship for the last 6 months and have had un protected sex. I have had previous STD tests last year and prior to this and all came back clear. In the last 24 hours I've noticed this unusual rash appear on my penis, on the head and the foreskin that sits over it. It is red, with what looks to be tiny pimples as part of it. It developed about 24 hours ago with no warning sign, no itching, no pain. I would describe it as slightly tender to touch, maybe a very very mild burning but nothing that would be noticeable without thinking about it but barely any pain at all. I've had skin irritation on my penis before and the tenderness felt the same as this does. I'm trying to determine whether it looks like or could be herpes or whether it is some kind of fungal infection. I know the Clinic will give me a definite answer but in the mean time i'm looking for some advice until i can get there. I'm going to go for a test on Thursday but in the mean time wanted some opinions of what it could be.

Thank you! :)

ANSWER: Hey Tim,

That's balanitis, which is a fungal infection of the penis that most often occurs from unprotected intercourse. While not defined as an STI, they are pretty common and are passed via direct skin contact. I would abstain from sexual contact with your partner until you've cleared it up by seeing your primary care provider or with your local health clinic (they'll likely put you on Diflucan) and it might be possible that your partner will be put on the medicine too since it was passed from them to you. However, if you have must have sex during the treatment cycle then please use protection as you can make the symptoms worse. Balanitis is extremely easy to treat and can clear up with a few weeks if proper precautions are taken plus medications.



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

QUESTION: Thanks so much for your response John. I managed to capture a better image in better light today and wanted to reconfirm with you it looks like Balantis. It's not painful, its not crusty. it just seems to be red with a number of these white head looking spots. Some of them almost indented looking. I will still go for my check up tomorrow but want to prepare myself for any nasty shocks if these photos reveal more than fungus at work.

Thanks so much, hopefully you can put my mind at ease further.


Fungal infections typically don't hurt at all; that's the reason why it fits so well and the dispersal pattern fits the profile. After 1100 cases I'm pretty good at spotting this :) I really think you should see a doctor about this and try to get a prescription to treat it as soon as possible.



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John Brice


Educated and certified in STI information, HIV and AIDS, and trained in comprehensive sex education for teens and young adults. Providing counseling in sexuality, sexual interests, and sexual orientations, pregnancy prevention, safer sex initiatives, and teaching health education seminars to adults ages 18-65 for the past 3 years. Serve underserved clients in homeless shelters, workplace readiness programs, and detention centers. Three term AmeriCorps domestic service volunteer and Peace Corps nominee for Health Service to Lesotho and Rwanda. Providing services to the GLBTQIA populations of which I am a member.


3 years as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (Advanced) for 3 years and comprehensive sex educator for 3 years and parenting educator for 3 years. *North Carolina State Certified Emergency Medical Technician, #P083512 *Certified Health Education Specialist, #22589

*American Public Health Association *National Commission on Health Education Credentialing

American Public Health Association, Student Assembly, Quarterly Newsletter 2012-2014

*Doctor of Education (candidate), K-12 Teacher Leadership; Capella University *Master of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences; Capella University *Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Concordia University-Portland *Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and English; East Carolina University

Awards and Honors
Graduated with Distinction from Capella University AllExperts, Top Experts of 2014 (One and Multiple Categories)

Past/Present Clients
*Over 180 clients, lasting 30 sessions, in 5 locations during Florida service. *Over 150 clients, lasting 18 sessions, in 2 locations during South Carolina service.

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