Herpes information available on the Web

Get more information on genital herpes, as well as a new treatment for recurrent incidents of the disease, at Café Herpé, an innovative World Wide Web site sponsored by drug manufacturer SmithKline Beecham of Philadelphia.

The Web site (http://www.cafeherpe.com) allows Internet browsers to get the latest information on the disease in the privacy of their own homes.

Café Herpé gives a thorough overview of genital herpes, including diagnosis, transmission, recurrence, self-care, and treatment. An on-line medical dictionary simplifies medical terminology, with an area devoted to frequently asked questions. A list of related sites allows browsers to move to other informative areas on the subject.

Café Herpé also includes information on Famvir (famciclovir), SmithKline Beecham’s oral antiviral drug for recurrent genital herpes. Cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for such use in February 1996, Famvir is used for relieving the pain and discomfort associated with the disease.

It is estimated that 200,000 to 500,000 new cases of genital herpes occur each year, and 31 million people already are infected with the genital herpes virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Clinicians may also want to check out some other noncommercial Web sites to learn more about genital herpes, says health educator Deborah Levine, MA, of San Francisco. Levine, who now works with Thrive (http://www. pathfinder.com/thrive), a Web site devoted to healthy living, suggests checking out the genital herpes information posted by the American Social Health Association in Research Triangle Park, NC. This site, located at http://www.sunsite.unc.edu/ASHA, offers in-depth information on the subject, she notes.

"I recommend something like the American Social Health Association site, because [patients] can get great information about STDs, be able to call their hotline, and build a community with other people around something that is considered very shameful by American society," says Levine.

Clinicians who don’t have Web access may want to receive further information on Famvir by contacting SmithKline Beecham, Product Information, 1 Franklin Plaza, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Telephone: (800) 366-8900, Ext. 5231. Fax: (215) 751-3148. More information on genital herpes is available by contacting ASHA, P.O. Box 13827, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Telephone: (800) 230-6039. Fax: (919) 361-8425.