Do you have herpes simplex? Come along to a support group/social get-together run by the Herpes Viruses Association, meet others with the virus, and get answers to your questions.
Venue: the Atrium Lounge in the President Hotel, Guilford Street – about 2 minutes from Russell Square tube. Turn left out of the tube station, first left into Herbrand Street. The hotel is straight ahead. Inside the hotel, turn right and go through the big glass doors. Look for the yellow SPHERE sign on a table. (Parking free after 1.30 pm near the hotel.)
Saturdays: 6th August, 3rd September, 1st October and one every month…
Marian usually hosts this. We are there from 3 pm – to 6 pm, but you can arrive and leave when it suits you, we are very informal. We can discuss ‘it’ in public without anyone being aware we are talking about genital herpes. Talking about ‘h’ and spelling out ‘s’ ‘e’ ‘x’ people won’t pay attention.
The Atrium venue is especially good if you like a quiet, comfortable atmosphere. It is usually nice and empty – we find we can chat without fear of being overhead. We drink tea/ coffee/ wine/ beer/ cocktails – all really cheap for London!
Some of us go on to eat somewhere nearby after 6.00 pm. Marian or other volunteer will put a Toblerone-shaped sign with ‘SPHERE’ on the table.
Weekday evenings at 6.30 pm:
Wednesday 20th July, Tues. 16th August, Wed. 14th Sept. – and more throughout 2016. All of you are welcome to come and meet Marian. We stay there until 7.30 pm and if no one has arrived, we’ll leave.
BUT if you have arrived before 7.30, we can go on chatting till all hours… This is an open meeting at the President’s Atrium Bar/Lounge – see venue details above.
The six people who came to one of these in February liked talking to each other so much, they agreed to come again in March – and five of them did!
We are often told that: “I was really nervous about coming to meet you. But it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I really enjoyed meeting other people with herpes and talk about it openly – and to get my questions answered.”
People thinking about coming along always ask “What sort of people come to these?” And the answer is “Normal people! Nice people!” We are all ages, all colours, all sexes! Some have been before; others are new; members have had invitations through the post; non-members have seen these details ‘on the net’. Conversation is about everything: how someone had caught it, how someone else’s partner had reacted.
Mainly, it involves feelings of lack of self-esteem and the problems/methods of talking about herpes simplex (‘cold sores on the wots-it’) to new or potential partners. It is a sort of informal counselling if you like, with the experience of each person there, adding to Marian’s time-tested advice.
“At my first meeting I was told ‘Of course you can have a normal sex life’ by a man who’d had herpes simplex for five years. I didn’t believe him. Now I know he was telling the truth.” says Marian
For members, there are more events: see leaflet sent with your last magazine.
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A member is having meetings for gay guys – there is one this Friday, 3rd June. There will be more! http://www.meetup.com/London-Gay-Mens-Herpes-Meetup-Dating/
These social (and sometimes ‘support’) events occur in people’s homes and in pubs, cafes, etc. around the country. You can join meetings in:
NEW MEETINGS – Glasgow and Maidstone
GLASGOW: 23rd Saturday, George Square – from 6 pm – email the hostess to find out where.
MAIDSTONE: 30th July. Email me to get the details for our hostess for:
30th July – Malta Inn, Maidstone – join us.
The last meeting was great, with 8 people.
Sue will put her ‘Teddy with a Red Love Heart’ on the table…
Elsewhere: If you are a member, send your details to us at at email@example.com and we will send them on to the person concerned. There are embryo groups in Chester (Cheshire), Peterborough/Cambridge and possibly Perth. Full details sent with SPHERE.