Fake STD Cures & Remedies: A History

Charlatan. Con Man. Snake Oil Salesman. Quackery. Pseudoscience.
Many words have been used to describe fake cures for sickness and disease and the people who sell them. For as long as people have suffered from illness, savvy business people have found ways to make a buck off of people desperately searching for a cure. STDs are prime territory for snake oil salesmen because the embarrassment creates a robust market for miracle cures that can be purchased and used without a doctor’s visit. Unfortunately, the cures that seem too good to be true are just that— too good to be true.

The term “snake oil salesman” comes from the unscrupulous salesmen who manufactured imitations of the “cure-all” snake oil brought to the states by Chinese immigrants in the 1800s. The real deal oil came from the Chinese water snake and was loaded with omega-3 acids that helped reduce swelling and joint pain, but the fake versions peddled by crafty salesmen were usually little more than red pepper and turpentine in a medicine bottle. In the early 1900s, fake snake oil was exposed as a fraud by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the phrase “snake oil salesman” was irrevocably tied to the connotation.

As modern medicine has advanced, an emphasis on holistic and natural healing has gained popularity. While holistic or alternative medicine, which involves the use of herbs, essential oils, crystals, sound therapy, and other untested remedies, usually get the worst rap for fraudulent or ineffective treatments, mainstream medicine has its own forms of quackery. Any medicines that haven’t been tested and approved by the FDA can’t be guaranteed to provide the results they offer. Any medicine that claims to cure a disease that has always been known as incurable should be regarded with suspicion. Any cure that can only be found on sketchy websites, the back pages of magazines and newspapers, or through mail order catalogs are not to be trusted. Any remedy that professes to cure a serious or lifelong condition, such as HIV or herpes, with nothing but fresh herbs and/or a change in diet is incredibly likely to be ineffective and possibly even dangerous. That’s the real problem with fake cures– not only do they not do anything to cure the condition, they actually delay actual medical treatment. Some STDs, syphilis and HIV especially, can have very serious, even fatal, side effects if left to progress untreated.

fake cures
Some of the unproven STD remedies being targeted by the FDA.

The Fake CureThe False ClaimThe Reality
ImmuneGloryCures HerpesDeclared unlawful by the FDA.
ViruxoBoosts Immune System Support & stops Herpes outbreaksDeclared unlawful by the FDA.
Virolab vaccineGenital warts/HPV vaccine & diagnostic testThe lab was owned by an illegitimate shell company; the CEO left.
Colloidal SilverCures AIDS (and hundreds of other conditions)There is no evidence that it is beneficial for humans; not considered safe or effective for human consumption.
Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)99% cure rate for AIDS; cure for hepatitis A, B, & C, herpes, & dozens of other conditionsMain ingredient: 28% sodium chlorite
(industrial bleach) in distilled water is toxic for human consumption.
O2xygen Force (aka Oxygen Force, OxyForce, & Oxy2)Roll on cream to cure herpes outbreaks.Issued a cease and desist by the FDA.
Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)Cures herpes.Effective for topical pain relief and healing wounds, burns and muscle injuries.
Essiac tonic, a tea made from four herbsCure for HIV/AIDS.Claims originated with Dr. Gary Glum, who never published reports about the effectiveness or safety of Essiac for HIV.
Master Peace Disintegrate Formula, Detox Formula, Echinacean/Goldenseal, & Burdock productsCure for HIV, HPV, and hepatitis.Echinacea, the primary ingredient, boosts immune function, but doesn't cure any ailments.
Medavir, ViraBalm, & Vyristic Immune Support"The #1 non-prescription herpes treatment" that can stop herpes outbreaks immediately.Lied about being proven effective in an FDA tiral; declared unlawful by the FDA.
HerpaflorCures herpes.Declared unlawful by the FDA.
Gene-EdenLower the viral load of HPV, herpes (HSV), and hepatitis A, B, & CDeclared unlawful by the FDA.
VivaGel condomsCondoms that contain an antiviral lubricant (astrodrimer sodium) that prevents the spread of HIV.Must be stored at a certain temperature, used before the expiration date, & applied correctly to work; the antiviral compound may cause inflammation that promotes the spread of HIV.
EverCLR3The "natural approach to controlling herpes."Declared unlawful by the FDA.
C-CureA naturally occurring plant substance that cures chlamydia.Declared unlawful by the FDA.
H-Stop Dx, H-Guard Dx, Molluscum Dx, & Wart DxClaimed cure for herpes, HPV, and Molluscum contragiosum.Declared unlawful by the FDA.
Never An OutbreakClaimed herpes cure.Declared unlawful by the FDA.
OregaWild (Oregano Oil)Chlamydia home remedy.There is no evidence to support the use of oregano oil for chlamydia.
The Complete Cure DeviceClaimed 95% cure rate for hepatitis C, 100% cure rate for HIV/AIDS, claims it cures hepatitis C by detecting radio waves emitted by diseased virus cells.Debunked by MIT scientists & a scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

Even if a product’s marketing materials and website look legitimate and authoritative, it could be fake. Even if there are doctors endorsing it or it has patient testimonials attesting to the effectiveness of the treatment, it could be a scam. Even if there are reputable names associated with the product, such as newspaper or organization logos, it could be a sham. The questionable companies that manufacture junk cures for STDs capitalize on the fear and embarrassment associated with an STD infection. The FDA has started cracking down on unproven remedies and their manufacturers over the past five years, issuing “cease and desist” notices to the companies making false claims about the health benefits of their products.

Fake website
Implied endorsements make product websites appear to be more legitimate.

The FDA has released a statement in regards to sites like these saying, “There are no over-the-counter or online drugs or dietary supplements available to treat or prevent STDs.”

According to the FDA, there is one simple way to avoid fake STD cures and remedies: If it doesn’t require a prescription, do not use it. 

Medically Reviewed by on September 22, 2021

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Author: Kristena Ducre

Kristena is a sex-positive LGBTQ ally and general fan of sexy things. As a writer, she is passionate about empowering people's sex lives with accurate and straightforward information. Sex can be a ton of fun, but sexual health is not a laughing matter. In the bedroom, as in life, knowledge is power.