Rubbing alcohol and chance of transmission
by altimaboy, Aug 28, 2009
Hey Doc, question for you.  I was diagnosed with HSV-2 by type-specific serology 16 months ago after experiencing a primary herpes infection 20 months ago.  So, I've been on Valtrex for 16 months without any outbreaks.  I've now met the love of my life and DO NOT want to give her herpes.  I know there's no way to guarantee transmission prevention, but I want to do everything that I can, and I'd like your opinion on the following protocol: I now take Valtrex 1000 mg/day, Lysine, Olive leaf, Prunella vulgaris, Echinacea purpurea, Andrographis paniculata, Zinc, and Ginseng.  I  know that several of those supplements/herbs are shown to be virucidal against HSV-2 via different mechanisms than valacyclovir, so I thought that may help reduce transmission, although there have been no studies proving so.  In addition, when my girlfriend and I have sex, I wipe my genital area with rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl) beforehand to kill any virus that I may be shedding asymptomatically.  So, what do you think of both my medication/supplement protocol as well as the rubbing alcohol idea?  Thoughts?
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Member Comments (3)
by gracefromHHP, Aug 28, 2009
This is not the doctors forum - you need to pay to post there.

The supplements you've mentioned have only been found to be effective against herpes in the test tube ( well not all of them have even been tested for herpes - they just in general area known to have antiviral properties ).  Most of them have not been effective when tried in animals so human trials have never commenced.  You are spending a heck of a lot of money on supplements when odds are you aren't going to get more effectiveness than just daily suppressive therapy with 1 of the 3 herpes antivirals.

You are actually increasing her risk by wiping your genitals with alcohol. It's an irritant and irritants have been found to trigger shedding and increase transmission.  The skin in the genital area is very sensitive and you are drying it out and doing more harm than good.

Daily suppressive therapy with valtrex , condoms and avoiding sex during obvious genital symptoms takes her risk down to 2-3%/year of transmission. You'll never get it down to 0.

I take it she's been tested to know her own status?


by altimaboy, Aug 30, 2009
Can you give me the reference(s) that shows that irritants/irritation/trauma can trigger shedding?  I've found conflicting opinions on that.  Thank you!
by gracefromHHP, Aug 31, 2009
it's part of why nonoxyonol 9 has been removed from condoms - it was found to trigger increased shedding due to irritation. same with most of the antimicrobial's for std prevention that have been tested recently - they too have been found to trigger irritation and increase risk too.  Trauma in the genital area has long been known to trigger shedding too.  You certainly do not want to use alcohol on the skin and dry it out in general - never a good thing in general.

I know of absolutely no references that show that topicals help to protect a partner when applied prior to intercourse.