“Love Hurts” is an information campaign about herpes genitalis. The symbol that identifies the whole campaign is a heart with teeth. Of course the heart stands for love. But we all know that, like everything else in life, love has two sides: a beautiful side and a painful side. And this is what ”Love Hurts” is all about – because the herpes genitalis virus (HSV-2) can cause very painful infections – and that’s why the heart has teeth.    

The reason for developing an information campaign on herpes genitalis was the fact that herpes genitalis is a sexually transmitted disease which is estimated to affect one person in every five. And the trend is upward. A study recently completed in America revealed that the prevalence of herpes genitalis there has increased by 30 percent since the late seventies.    

An underestimated risk. Despite the widespread nature of herpes genitalis, the disease is seriously underestimated by the population, and by many doctors. An international study has shown that some 60 percent of cases with symptomatic herpes genitalis are not identified. And it is these patients in particular, some of whom have only mild symptoms, who represent a special risk where the propagation of the disease is concerned, because they too may be carriers of infectious viruses. Estimates indicate that between 65 and 80 percent of herpes genitalis infections are transmitted in the symptomless phase of the disease.    

Why “Love Hurts”? How does one translate the bare figures of medical epidemiology into a campaign that gets through to young people? What ”Love Hurts” aims to achieve is to make young people get to grips with the issue of herpes genitalis, take precautions against infection and feel able, if the need arises, to talk to the doctor about it. The central element of ”Love Hurts” is a competition that invites people aged 16 and over, whether medical or non-medical, to devise their own multimedia guide to herpes genitalis – on the basic principle: ”How do I talk about embarrassing things without being embarrassing?”    

Details of the competition are available in the Internet on ‘http://www.lovehurts.de’.    

And if you don’t have Internet access? From mid-February 1998 to about the end of July 1998 we are running a telephone hot-line, the “Hurtline”, and a faxback service that focus attention on the competition and the issue itself. Measures to publicise the numbers include the distribution of 230,000 postcards in 24 cities around Germany. To get doctors and pharmacists involved we have run a nationwide mailing informing nearly 13,000 gynaecologists and dermatologists about “Love Hurts”. Through Glaxo Wellcome’s pharmacy magazine “Pharmaimpuls” we are also urging more than 20,000 pharmacists to take part. And of course we are relying on the 700 men and women of our field sales force. The multimedia campaign is rounded off by posters for Internet cafés, universities etc.    

The campaign strategy and its implementation and results will be presented at the conference.

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Show us what you can do! “Love Hurts”
The multimedia campaign to stop herpes genitalis infections

Astrid Forster   Glaxo Wellcome GmbH & Co

Frank Laurich   Glaxo Wellcome GmbH & Co

Martina Muttke  

Stefan Siewers  

“Love Hurts” is an information campaign about herpes genitalis. The symbol that identifies the whole campaign is a heart with teeth. Of course the heart stands for love. But we all know that, like everything else in life, love has two sides: a beautiful side and a painful side. And this is what ”Love Hurts” is all about – because the herpes genitalis virus (HSV-2) can cause very painful infections – and that’s why the heart has teeth.    

The reason for developing an information campaign on herpes genitalis was the fact that herpes genitalis is a sexually transmitted disease which is estimated to affect one person in every five. And the trend is upward. A study recently completed in America revealed that the prevalence of herpes genitalis there has increased by 30 percent since the late seventies.    

An underestimated risk. Despite the widespread nature of herpes genitalis, the disease is seriously underestimated by the population, and by many doctors. An international study has shown that some 60 percent of cases with symptomatic herpes genitalis are not identified. And it is these patients in particular, some of whom have only mild symptoms, who represent a special risk where the propagation of the disease is concerned, because they too may be carriers of infectious viruses. Estimates indicate that between 65 and 80 percent of herpes genitalis infections are transmitted in the symptomless phase of the disease.    

Why “Love Hurts”? How does one translate the bare figures of medical epidemiology into a campaign that gets through to young people? What ”Love Hurts” aims to achieve is to make young people get to grips with the issue of herpes genitalis, take precautions against infection and feel able, if the need arises, to talk to the doctor about it. The central element of ”Love Hurts” is a competition that invites people aged 16 and over, whether medical or non-medical, to devise their own multimedia guide to herpes genitalis – on the basic principle: ”How do I talk about embarrassing things without being embarrassing?”    

Details of the competition are available in the Internet on ‘http://www.lovehurts.de’.    

And if you don’t have Internet access? From mid-February 1998 to about the end of July 1998 we are running a telephone hot-line, the “Hurtline”, and a faxback service that focus attention on the competition and the issue itself. Measures to publicise the numbers include the distribution of 230,000 postcards in 24 cities around Germany. To get doctors and pharmacists involved we have run a nationwide mailing informing nearly 13,000 gynaecologists and dermatologists about “Love Hurts”. Through Glaxo Wellcome’s pharmacy magazine “Pharmaimpuls” we are also urging more than 20,000 pharmacists to take part. And of course we are relying on the 700 men and women of our field sales force. The multimedia campaign is rounded off by posters for Internet cafés, universities etc.    

The campaign strategy and its implementation and results will be presented at the conference.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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