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The Tar HeelThursday, July 31, 19865
erpes sufferers form support group for HELP
By RANDALL PATTERSON
"She knew she had something,"
Alex Funk, said of the person who
gave him genital herpes. "She didn't
tell me it was contagious or what it
was. She said it was a rash. I thought
it was a heat rash or something.
Alex Funk is a technology
oriented person whose world philo
sophy involves the "biomass and the
"maximization of the differentiation
of states." An instrumentation spe
cialist, an environmentalist and a
former college activist, he is smart
and articulate and 14 years a herpes
I didn't know I had it for five
years," he said. "Nobody could tell
me what it was. The last time 1 went
to a clinic, the doctor told me I had
a case of shoddy nodes and not to
worry about it.
"It wasn't very long after that that
my girlfriend of the time informed
me I'd transmitted it to her. All those
years of going to clinics and then to
have someone without any medical
training give you the news. Sort of
Alex Funk was one of the founders
in 1981 of Triangle HELP, an
organization designed to educate and
to encourage North Carolina's herpes
victims. HELP is an acronym for
Herpetics Engaged in Living Produc
tively, but Funk calls that Mickey
Bumper crop of summer tomatoes
perfect for a simple and tasty sauce
You mieht not consider it a
problem, but dealing with all the
fresh tomatoes this time of year can
This recipe uses excess tomatoes
and other fresh summer produce to
make a simple and delicious pasta
sauce. Use any combination of the
vegetables listed and, anything else
you have on hand that you think
would be good.
This sauce depends on fresh and
juicy tomatoes as a base. Some
people peel and seed them, but I
never bother. If the tomatoes are not
juicy enough, add a tablespoon or
so of canned tomato sauce to help
the consistency. ,
Chicken can also be used in this
recipe, with a few extra steps. Take
two pieces and remove the skin.
Brown them in several tablespoons
of vegetable oil over high heat for
about eight minutes on each side.
White meat cooks faster than dark,
so adjust accordingly.
Remove the chicken and the excess
oil, leaving the sediments in' the
bottom. Add an extra two tables
poons of both chicken stock and wine
and scrape the pan bottom. Let most
of the liquid cook off and follow the
rest of the recipe, adding the chicken
with the tomatoes.
The recipe feeds two. Any sort of
red wine, white wine, or sherry may
Enough fettucini or other pasta for
On Saturday morning, Funk was
groggy after a Friday night spent
manning a telephone herpes crisis
Over breakfast, he began to
explain the rationale behind Triangle
"The best way to prevent the
spread of herpes is to give victims
an environment in which they can
realize they're not alone, Funk said.
"We feel we can only do that through
information and a positive approach,
rather than by putting our heads in
I really do feel that someone with
herpes has no business dating some
one that does not. But when you talk
freely about it and admit it, you run
into all sorts of people that have it.
Funk is not a public relations man,
though, and doesn't mind that AIDS
has stolen herpes' media limelight.
AIDS, he said, will force the world
to deal openly with sexually trans
"Just because sexually transmitted
diseases happen to involve certain
parts of our bodies that are always
supposed to be kept hidden and not
talked about, well, that kind of
attitude is dangerous,' he said. "And
nothing is going to point that out
more than AIDS."
AIDS research, Funk said, will
1 cup tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup or so zucchini, broccoli and
3 tbsp. grated carrots
2 tbsp. chicken stock
2 tbsp. wine
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. basil
V tsp. thyme
i , "
1 . Cook the fettucini according to
2. Heat the butter. When the foam
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However, Funk's motivation to
help the herpes victim is more than
practical, more than care for the rest
of society. He is moved by an
understanding of the pain the victim
"The real paradox is, in the face
of the incredible ubiquity of this
disease, people act like it's unusual
and rare," Funk said. "And so people,
when they come down with it, have
this unfortunate and completely
erroneous feeling that theyre the only
one in the world with herpes. And
that's a lot of needless human
Funk estimated that by the time
people reach their 80s, over 75
percent of them have been exposed
to one of the herpes viruses.
"Many people like to make a
distinction between types one and
two, but there's almost no distinction
at all," Funk said. "Either type can
show up in either place."
. While HELP can allay the mental
anguish of the herpes victim, until
recently there was very little to be
done about the physical suffering.
Funk said that although only a
comparative few of those carrying the
herpes virus actually suffer, those
who do experience recurrences can
now find some relief with the drug
Acyclovir, now marketed under the
begins to subside, add the garlic and
carrots and saute tor one minute.
3. Add the tomatoes, basil and
thyme. Cook over high heat for three
or four minutes.
4. Add the remaining ingredients,
stirring in the tomato paste. Cook
for a few more minutes, letting sauce
thicken. Pour over fettucini.
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brand name Zovirax.
"It's the first thing that has done
anything for this virus," he said. "But
it's not an outright cure. It's only
effective during a recurrence."
There are about SO people involved
in Triangle HELP now, and Funk
said about 10 of them meet the first
Thursday of each month in a room
at Burroughs-Wellcome Pharma
ceutical Co. Funk said it is coinci
dence that the company happens to
be the developer of Acyclovir.
"They're very friendly," he said.
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"They don experiment on us. We
just go in, have our meeting and go
home. Sometimes it makes me think
that everything must have a purpose,
and just what is the purpose of this
Those who have genital herpes and
would like to know they are not alone
can call Triangle HELP at 688-8950
in Durham. In Chapel Hill, Univer
sity students who have herpes, or
think they might, can go to the
Student Health Center for confiden
University Square 929-0308
coupon and receive
- tk HCtossais