Though medically minor and very common, herpes simplex is a condition which is capable of causing considerable distress, for psychological and social as much as physical reasons. Herpes Simplex contrasts the image of the condition presented in the media with the medical and epidemiological evidence, and discusses ways in which the distress associated with the condition can be alleviated.
The first part of the book examines the impact of diagnosis and then explains the roles of accurate information and empathic support, medical treatment and support groups in learning to live with recurrent symptoms. Other chapters use the experiences of people with the condition in different parts of their bodies to illustrate how the meaning of herpes simplex and response to the symptoms alters in association with life changes. The final chapters review psychosocial research, discuss the importance of the Herpes Viruses Association in acquiring a store of knowledge about people's experiences, and highlight the significance of herpes simplex as a public health problem.
Herpes Simplex demonstrates the importance of a biopsychosocial approach. It will be invaluable to doctors, nurses and other health professionals, as well as to people troubled by the condition.
T.Natasha Posner is Lecturer in Medical Sociology at the University of Queensland, Australia.
' ... as a text that presents a comprehensive overview of this virus and its biological, epidemiological and social consequences, Posner has provided a valuable case study. Like other books in this series, the writing is accessible, focused, relatively jargon-free and well referenced. It is a very useful resource for students in the way this very 'tidy' and fairly slim book demonstrates just what she wanted to deliver.' - Medical Sociology News: A Newsletter of the British Sociological Association December 1998