HERPES: What to Do When You Have It by Oscar Gillespie

HERPES: What to Do When You Have It

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Practical, commonsense help toward erasing the fear and stigma surrounding herpes. Gillespie, a co-founder of the New York self-help group for those afflicted (New York HELP), recognizes that herpes is especially troublesome because it can't be cured outright and it may reappear at any time. But other problems--unnecessary, he thinks--compound the sufferer's distress: symptoms can be painful (though, physically, they are seldom serious); and one's body is not only threatened, but also one's sexuality--""our feelings about ourselves and physical closeness to another human being."" Gillespie dispels fear by providing information. He explains what herpes is (a virus infection that causes a rash on the skin or mucous membranes); the way it's transmitted (through direct physical contact, not via toilet seats); its symptoms; and why it recurs (various disturbances, both physical and mental, can reactivate the virus and lower the body's defenses so symptoms reappear). He covers all aspects of medical and home treatments (for comfort, not cure) and also special situations--like pregnancy--before moving on to emotional and personal concerns. Having herpes, he sensibly writes, necessitates ""a process of adjustment--a physical adjustment over time and an emotional adjustment to living with the possibility of occasional disruptions in sexual freedom and spontaneity. And that's all."" To round out the picture, he looks at unhelpful attitudes (guilt, fear); how to conquer them; and how and when to tell partners about the problem. A solid approach to a distressing disease that's on the increase.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap