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An exhaustive--but deficient--guide to the chronic disease that has recently swept popular magazines, telling everything about its epidemiology, but little about how to deal with it individually. Hamilton, a specialist in the treatment of sexually-related disorders, gives us the basic facts: herpes simplex virus disease appears as blister-like sores on mucous membranes or skin surfaces (either about the mouth as cold sores or in the genital area); and once inside the body, it never leaves, although it is not always active. Then--on the grounds that knowledge about the disease is the surest way to alleviate suffering--Hamilton sets out to tell us everything known about herpes from the effects of environment (stress, nutrition, fatigue can all affect the course of herpes) to the relationship between herpes and cancer. He approaches cures by describing the placebo effect and how a good experimental study is set up; ""with the preceding concepts clearly in mind,"" he writes, ""we can evaluate the following would-be cures and treatments in terms of proper experimental design. We will also examine the degree to which claims for effectiveness are supported or refuted by facts."" All this is fine, but what about proven comfort measures during an attack? Hamilton is fascinated by the disease itself; and while education is a basis for coping, on one level this goes far beyond what many will want to know, while on another--the personal level--it doesn't go far enough.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1980
Publisher: Tarcher--dist. by St. Martin's