Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Expert Profile

Mark P. Behar

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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!

Experience in the area

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

What do you like about this subject?

Sex may communication and intimacy with your partner!

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Great overall web site to browse: Great images available on

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Anal warts? It doesn't matter how you may have got 'em, but if you have 'em, or EVER HAD THEM, ask your health care provider to give you an anal cytology test ("PAP" smear) to screen for human papilloma virus (HPV) and anal precancers and cancers. "Disease and drug free (DDF)"? It is dishonest and misleading, so please don't promote yourself this way!

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Recent Answers from Mark P. Behar

2016-12-07 Warts?:

Hello Again, Antonio,  Verruca vulgaris is a wart caused by a different strain of HPV.  You may get a biopsy if you are trying to determine exactly what it is.  Alternatively, your goal is to get rid of

2016-12-06 Ummm?!? HELP!!!:

Hi Again, Jan,  Initial outbreaks of herpes usually takes a few days to show up after initial exposure. "Yesterday" doesn't qualify.  You never mentioned whether you EVER had herpes in the past. Herpetic

2016-12-05 Herpes?!:

Hello Emma,   You haven't provided me with enough information. How long have you noticed these bumps? A day or so, or for a week or more? Any itch, numbness, tingling, funny feeling?  The upper photo ("Herpes?")

2016-12-05 Ummm?!? HELP!!!:

Hi Jan,   Perhaps using a silicone- or water-based lubricant to prevent friction injuries next time would be helpful.  Since you recently had an antibiotic, it is possible that you might have a vaginal

2016-12-04 Bumps that look like herpes:

Hello Noah,  The bumps you noticed are normal variations of the skin: on the underside, they are pearly penile papules. On the rim (corona) of the head (glans), the imperfections are also normal.  They


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