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The Good News About the Bad News: Herpes: Everything You Need to Know Paperback – May 1, 2009
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In The Good News About the Bad News: Herpes, an internationally recognized expert on genital herpes offers honest, friendly, and up-to-date advice and support to the millions of people living with one of the most common viral STDs, herpes.
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Top Customer Reviews
It contains a lot of good information, and I highly recommend it as a fact/reality-check. Everything appears up-to-date, though I would've liked to see a summary with key facts in the back, to refer to in the future. The author covers what herpes is, the various types, how often you can expect an outbreak, how contagious you might be to partners, as well as basic preventative measures against outbreaks. Warren even goes briefly into other STDs, especially if they relate to herpes. Overall you're getting a great education on herpes, written in a very upfront manner - everything you should have known, or wish you had known before getting this STD - but which will help you lead a safer sexual life now.
The book is very thorough on facts, but I was disappointed by how the emotional aspects were dealt with. As many people with herpes know, and certainly those who've had bad outbreaks, getting this disease can be very traumatic, leaving you wondering how or if you'll ever be able to responsibly have a normal sex life again.
The author talks about the emotions, but it's done in a kind of 'handbook' style - as in, 'You're probably feeling this, and you might be feeling that... but the truth is, it's not that bad, or maybe you could have been more responsible, and yes your sex life will be different, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.'
Personally, I found it unconvincing, a bit patronizing, and just not too helpful in that regard. It certainly didn't come close to helping me cope with the amount of pain I was in, and the dread of what it might mean for my entire sexual life. It reads like a doctor, giving you information, while trying to seem compassionate. It just didn't work that well for me.
I also wanted a lot more information on the initial outbreak and how to cope with it, both physically and emotionally. How severe an initial outbreak can be differs widely from person to person. Some people don't even know they've been infected - while others, like me, feel they've caught the worst flu of their life, are in a lot of pain, and are totally drained of energy. The person who gave me herpes never had a bad reaction and thought "everyone has herpes anyway," so she thought there was no reason to tell me she was infected.
These half-truths about herpes - that it's so common, and isn't that bad - and adding to the mix the emotional issues and stigma (from the medical establishment too, which simply ignores herpes in routine STD testing) - are what allows this disease to quietly rack up more and more victims each year. This book does confirm these facts for the most part. Yes, a lot of people do have herpes - maybe 20-50% of the population - and many don't have bad outbreaks, or that often. But that's not everyone. I didn't have herpes antibodies, and my symptoms were so bad I felt they could've put me in the hospital.
So in that, I don't feel the book put as much effort in talking about the severe reactions and worser-case scenarios, which some of us will have. Yes, no author wants to add to the trauma or fear, but for those going through the worst-case, you really do want to know, if only to know that you're not alone.
In closing - if you have had or are having a bad outbreak, or feel traumatized by this experience - I recommend reading another book alongside this one, to help you with the emotional issues - which are just as important if not more, to dealing with this disease constructively. I've skimmed through some of Kelly Shuh's books and may check out one of those in the future.
Best wishes to you.