Sexually Transmitted Diseases/What could this bump be?


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Hey there, thanks for the consideration.
My name's Hector, I'm from Oregon in the US and I'm 18 years old. I had a three month sexual relationship that ended last August with a girl who I found out had been with several other guys in her past. Because she used an IUD, we had unprotected intercourse several times. We found out that she had chlamydia but we were both treated and I've come up negative in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV screens since. The past week and a half I noticed a painless flesh colored bump near the underside of my penis' head. It doesn't appear to have fluid or be a blister. At first I thought it was a fordyce spot but am unsure because most of my spots aren't right next to my head. I'm circumcised, and it is in the area where my foreskin would have covered. Should I be concerned that this is a manifestation of HPV or herpes? I have oral HSV-1 but have never seen symptoms below the belt. I'm attaching some pictures; the brownish color is a natural birthmark that I've had since birth.
In the period since we broke up, I've only had one sexual partner, but she's a virgin and we only engage in oral and manual sex currently. Thanks again for your time, Doctor. If you have further questions, ask away. I masturbate often so I originally thought that it could have something to do with friction.

Hello Hector,
The bump does not appear to be HPV or herpes.  It does look like a pimple or healing folliculitis. It would probably be good to have it examined by a knowledgeable health care provider.

Good luck!

Addendum:  In response to your followup question.
Folliculitis may occur on the shaft of the penis, even in the absence of visible hair. Sebaceous (oil) glands may also leave a similar appearing reddish area or bump. The bump does NOT appear to be related to anything sexually transmitted.  

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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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