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Indian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2013 Jan;34(1):32-4. doi: 10.4103/0253-7184.112867.

Herpes genitalis - Topical zinc sulfate: An alternative therapeutic and modality.

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Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, Punjab, India.



Herpes genitalis is one of the commonest sexually transmitted infections in the world caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2. All herpes viruses show latency. Herpes genitalis caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2 is recurrent in 55 and 90% of case respectively.


To comparatively evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of topical zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) in varying concentrations in herpes genitalis.


Ninety patients clinically diagnosed as herpes genitalis and confirmed by Tzanck test were taken up for study and divided into 3 groups of 30 patients each which were applied topical ZnSO4 in concentrations of 1%, 2% and 4% respectively for 3 months. Ten patients of herpes genitalis were kept as control in whom only distilled water was applied. Patients were followed up for a total period of 6 months for any recurrences.


Ten patients of group 1 (1% ZnSO4) showed recurrence, 6 patients in group 2 (2% ZnSO4) and only one patient in group 3 (4% ZnSO4) showed recurrence. In the control group, 8 out of 10 patients showed recurrence. No serious side effects were seen in all 3 groups.


Topical ZnSO4 has been found to be an effective therapeutic modality not only for treatment but also for prolonging remissions in herpes genitalis. Topical 4% ZnSO4 has been found to be most efficacious out of the three concentrations, without any side effects.


Herpes genitalis; new approach; zinc sulfate

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