[Question #3863] Red/Dry Penis Skin, risk factor for STDs?

33 months ago
Hello Doctor, 

My question today is on whether the presence of patches of skin that are flaking on penis head and when having sex or masturbation it peels off and leaves a red patch of skin, affects the chances of getting any kind of STD even when using protection or for having an oral without protection. I live in a very dry place and I get them during high activity of masturbation, i think they started after using a different type of soap but didnt seem to have healed or i didnt allow the rigbt time, when I dont masturbate for a while, it starts to look good, I have noticed when moving to a humid city it heals completely. 

Please let me know what is your medical opinion as im planning to have sex very soon and dont want to take any higher risks of contracting STDs.

Regards, 

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
33 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

This sort of skin condition probably has little effect on risk of any STD, including HIV. In theory, any sort of inflammation can elevate HIV risk in event of direct contact with the virus. However, the effect is very small, probably closely zero; as we've said many times, the only skin conditions likely to increase HIV risk are new, actively bleeding wounds, and even these have never proved to be a problem in sexual transmission. There has never been any direct research on this, but any increased risk is trivial. As for other STDs, this might elevate the risk of herpes or HPV if exposed. Here too there are no data, but any elevated risk undoubtedly is tiny. For STD/HIV prevention, smart partner selection and condoms are far more important; follow those recommendations and don't worry about the other.

Having said that, almost certainly a specific diagnosis of your penile skin problems would be possible, as well as effective treatment. Don't assume it's allergy or irritation from any particular soap; and even daily, vigorous masturbation shouldn't do this if the skin itself is normal. If you haven't done so, it would be reasonable to see a dermatologist for professional evaluation and advice.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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33 months ago
Thank you so much Dr. Handsfield, im planning to see a dermatologist soon. So, as i understood, with a condom it should have practically no effect on risk ?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
33 months ago
With or without a condom, this skin condition would have little or no effect on STD risk. Of course condoms always are wise regardless of other conditions!---