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Sexually Transmitted Diseases/weird red spots/patches that come and go


red blemishes/spots/irritation?
red blemishes/spots/ir  

red blemishes/spots/irritation?
red blemishes/spots/ir  
I have really been wondering what these or this can be. I am 17 years of age and am still a virgin. I've noticed for the past 3 months maybe that the head of my penis looks red and irritated and from time to time these red things pop up as seen in the pictures. I do masturbate so I wonder if it is caused by friction but I took a break from masturbating for about 2 weeks to see if anything would change and I did notice it was not as red but it didn't seem to go away. I had my doctor take a look and he said everything looked fine but when he checked it out those red spots I'm talking about weren't visible. They only seem visible when erect and sometimes when not. I know he said its nothing but I'm still worried it might be like some cancer or something. They are also not always in the same spot. Sometimes they seem to move. I also noticed that they do go away but then they come back. They do not itch or hurt or have any liquid/puss or anything oozing out and they sort of seem underneath the skin. I try to feel over them but I feel nothing. I actually got another doctor appointment soon and I'm going to show him this picture. I just want to see if you may have any idea of what this is. These red spots are also seen underneath the head of the penis and  these are always visible no matter what and they do not itch or anything either. I really want to know if these are normal. So please help. I hope the pictures are clear enough and also I have ppp and fordyce spots and they may be visible in the pictures but that's not what I'm talking about. I already had those checked out.

Hi Vincent,
The areas you mention are normal variations in the skin, and usually may come and go or become more or less apparent for no good reason.   They look like the recurrent skin condition called, "lichen nitidus."  Nothing to worry about.

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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