Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Small nodules on penis



I have tiny nodules around the foreskin area of my penis, where I was circumcised. I noticed one of some of them about four months ago, maybe even longer, when I had an erection. As it did not seem to be going away, I began to inspect it closer. It was generally not noticeable unless the skin was stretched, and then only barely. At first I thought it was a pimple of some sort, but it is somewhat hard, and won't burst. As I became more interested in looking at my penis, I discovered additional bumps that are around the circumcision scar. They do not hurt, and I can't say they really itch, unless I bother with them (trying to burst them, etc.). I was concerned they were genital warts (HPV), but they are not cauliflower like. And then I was concerned they were Herpes, but they are not blisters that have opened into cankerous sores and I have not, to my knowledge, had any other HSV 2 symptoms. I should mention that I am gay. And, additionally, I don't "top" -- ever. In addition to these bumps, I have noticed other tiny bumps on the head of my penis. I'm rather terrified that I have an STD. Do these look like STD symptoms? A strange variation of genital warts or even herpes?

Hello Sarb,
No reason to be "terrified" as the bumps you see are absolutely normal variations.  Some guys have them, some, don't.  They appear to be enlarged sebaceous cysts, are are absolutely NOT related to herpes, HPV, or any other STD.  However, if you never "top" that implies that you therefore "bottom" meaning, that you are recipient of anal sex.  You need and deserve STD testing to rule out gonorrhea, chlamydia, warts/HPV, etc. of the anus, which is NOT shown in your photos. Next time you take a trip to Washington, DC, Boston, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, or similar cities, schedule an appointment at their local gay clinics to have yourself checked out down there!  

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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