Herpes is a disease currently shrouded in more myths, misinformation, and emotional connotations than perhaps any other health problem. A disease that cannot be cured out right and that can reappear at some time in the future after it has been contracted is reason enough for genuine concern, even when its symptoms are for the most part not physically serious. But since these symptoms most often are on the genitals, it is not just our body that is threatened but also our sexuality – our feelings about ourselves and about being physically close to another human being.
Until recently, due to the lack of information as well as the fact that herpes cannot be cured, many people who contracted the virus either ignored it or hid the fact. Ignoring herpes undoubtedly contributed to its spread in the population. And individuals choosing to hide it had to carry a secret burden around with them, which, as you can imagine, had quite an impact on their interpersonal lives. A few others were lucky enough to get sufﬁcient information to be able to solve whatever difficulties herpes presented to them.
The information herein will provide the means for you to deal effectively with herpes should you have it, contract it in the future, or become involved in some way with someone who has it. Its aim is to help you avoid, or at least drastically reduce, your experience of the pitfalls and syndromes that have become associated with herpes for one reason or another, so that you can live your life and enjoy your relationships with as much freedom as possible.
Today, people are less willing to hide their frustrations about potential interruptions in their personal and sexual lives and are more prepared to ask questions about events that affect their well-being. This healthy rebellion is not confined to herpes, but it has played a large role in bringing herpes to the attention of both physicians and public. If you don’t have the virus then you want to make sure you know how to prevent herpes transmission.
The change in attitude is due partly to the more candid exploration of sexuality in the last two decades and partly to a reevaluation of what is important for a free, full, and healthy life. Being healthy doesn’t mean just the absence of disease symptoms but also includes feeling good emotionally and socially. Good interpersonal relationships are one of the most important determinants of well-being, and as such require just as much attention as is paid to physical symptoms. An illness that, for whatever reason, disrupts the capacity to be intimate with another human being is very serious indeed. So herpes is beginning to be recognized as a disease in the quality of life-quite a step forward.
I’ll be more honest appraisal of sexuality has had other effects as well. An important one is that a small dent has been made in the stigmas associated with sexual difficulties and sexual diseases. The dent has made it easier for people to seek help when something is not right. However, the taboo associated with sexual diseases has not ended yet, and since there is no cure for herpes, it has acquired its own stigma as “the one to avoid at all costs” or “the worst of them all.” This is generated, again, by lack of knowledge and understanding. Learn how to treat herpes virus.
The media has played a leading role here, bringing a mixed blessing to the herpes problem as it exists today. The media has helped considerably to alert physicians, researchers, and the general public to the dimensions of the problem——a very fine public service. But the issue has been dramatically overplayed with a sensationalism sufficient to instill a profound fear in anyone who contracts herpes or becomes involved with someone who already has it. Articles featuring selected information and used for maximum impact have been responsible for as much irrationality about herpes as the lack of information and understanding was in the past.
A small percentage of men and women indeed do run into serious difﬁculties after contracting herpes, until they get on top of the disease. These difficulties are prolonged in far too many cases for want of a realistic and therapeutic presentation of information.
Many people can read the scientific literature, some can interpret it, and a few can present it in human terms to others in therapeutic way.
We will discuss both the scientiﬁc facts as well as the experiences of the men and women who came to me or NY HELP for clarification and aid after contracting herpes.
NY HELP is a local chapter of a national program initiated by the American Social Health Association (ASHA), a private organization dedicated to the control of sexually transmissible diseases. Recognizing the need for information and counseling about herpes, ASHA founded the Herpes Resource Center, with a main goal of bringing medical and research attention to the herpes problem. This has been largely successful. Another goal was to mobilize and facilitate local community involvement in the human aspects of herpes.
Herpes Resource Center, with a main goal of bringing medical and research attention to the herpes problem. This has been largely successful. Another goal was to mobilize and facilitate local community involvement in the human aspects of herpes.
Along with several talented and dedicated groundbreakers, I headed up the New York assault on the generally vague and unenlightened state of affairs surrounding herpes. We set up a self-help framework to provide information, support when necessary, and a forum for sharing concerns and frustrations. Discussion groups were organized to help solve emotional or interpersonal problems that herpes sufferers had run into because of the climate of confusion and misinformation. We saw how people really can, with a little help, come through and out of the difficulties they encounter. This process is occurring in many parts of the country and shows quite clearly that while herpes may seem insurmountable at first, it is far from that. It is just another problem to be solved and for the vast majority a not too difficult one. I have seen several hundred men and women do it. If reading this book makes it still easier for you, then it will have done its job. It should.