What Could Red Spots on the Head of Your Penis Be?

Spots and marks on the skin or glans of the penis could be many different things, many of them easily treated or not especially serious. But without having them examined by a doctor, it's impossible to know what the problem is and how it should be treated.

Not all spots in this part of your body are caused by sexually transmitted infections, but some can be. HIV does not cause red spots.

Syphilis chancres are small painless lumps that may be dull red, black or brown. The color depends on the color of your skin. The chancres soon break down into ulcers, in other words raw areas on the skin. These are also painless. Antibiotic treatment is highly effective against syphilis.

Sometimes the red spots can also be caused by herpes. At first the spots look like blisters and are filled with fluid, and then they burst, becoming scaly and red. Outbreaks of herpes can be painful. There is no cure, but medications can reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of passing the infection on.

Scabies is caused by an infestation of mites and can result in intense itching and red, raised spots on the head of the penis. Topical medications, applied to the skin, can kill the mites.

You need to see a physician to work out what is causing any red spots you are experiencing.

More on Sexually Transmitted Diseases at TheBody.com

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In addition, our Q&A experts sometimes address questions about the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases in our "Ask the Experts" forums. Here are some of those questions and our experts' responses:

  • Penis rash
    I have had this bad rash on my penis for about a year. It's a bunch of red spots which is just rock up on the head of my penis for a couple of days, and then disappear. Then the rash comes back.
  • Syphilis vs. herpes panic
    This round-ish sore on my penis shaft seems to match descriptions I've read online about syphilis, though they don't quite match pictures I've seen. What do you think?