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Whiteheads on penis or an STD?

I am a sexually active guy in my early 20s, and I just noticed a few bumps on the underside of my penis. They look like pimples, but I've never had acne there before. How can I tell whether this is an STD or just whiteheads?
Understandably any new bump on the penis can be cause for anxiety. It is a good idea to present this problem to your primary care physician (either family doctor or internist). You can only officially be diagnosed and treated (if necessary) after a physician examines you and gets a detailed history. Bumps on the penis can be one of several things. If they have been there for a long time (years), it is possible they are something called Pearly Penile Papules. These are very common, normal, not infectious, and not an STD. Because they are benign, they are not usually treated. On the other hand, if you just noticed them and you know they are new, then they may or may not be an STD. A couple possibilities include HPV (the cause of genital warts) or less likely HSV (AKA genital herpes). Genital warts are typically painless, whitish raised warts in the skin of the penis. They are treated by either freezing them off, or through the use of medicated creams. Herpes usually causes painful ulcers (not pimples). Only your doctor can tell the difference between these different types of penis bumps. Going to the doctor can be difficult sometimes, but you will be glad you did. Good luck.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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