The psychological stages herpes victims go through:
Hatred and resentment toward the person who gave it to them. Says Bill Hibbs, "I wanted to go out and buy a billboard and put in in front of the person's house and have it scream: 'THIS PERSON GAVE ME HERPES.' "
Loss of self-esteem. "You think you will never feel desirable again," says Hibbs.
Isolation. It is a time, says Hibbs, when a person feels stigmatized, lonely and unlovable, and especially needs support and reinforcement . . . yet may fear to tell anyone.
Enter the Herpes Research Center and local chapters of HELP.
The national organization provides the latest information and lists area centers and sources of physical and mental care. The local group has rap sessions, group meetings with psychologists, lists of recommended physicians and arranges with laboratories in the area for less expensive screening.
For Washington HELP phone (24 hours a day): 452-8408. Or write, HELP, P.O. Box 32326, Washington D.C. 20007.
For other information write: HERPES Research Center of the American Social Health Association, Box 100, Palo Alto, Calif., 94302. Phone (not free) 415-328-7710.
Or phone the National Venereal Disease Hotline: 800-227-8922.