Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Potential Herpes?


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! :)

Hello Timothy,
The rash does not appear to have any blisters, which means it probably is NOT herpes.  Uncirc'd men tend to get red rashes such as what you have, that may be accompanied by mild irritation, itching, burning externally. The common cause of such a rash is a skin fungus similar to the same thing that causes athlete's foot.  Try using a topical antifungal cream, such as terbinefine (Lamisil), tolnaftate (Tinactin), miconazole (Micatin). Do NOT use soap when bathing, as this can be irritating to the skin.

Hope this helps!

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.