AIDS Dilemmas

November 6, 1987

Report Outline
Special Focus


Ask any medical or public-health expert what America should do about the threat of AIDS, and the answer is likely to be the same: mount a massive education campaign and seek to persuade people to avoid the behavior that would put them or their sexual partners at risk of contracting the disease. Yet ask someone who disapproves of homosexuality and drug addiction, and the answer will probably be quite different: AIDS is a disease that strikes the sinful and their consorts. In this view, the appropriate public policy would be to identify infected persons and, if necessary, isolate them from healthy people.

According to a Gallup Poll last summer, 42 percent of the people surveyed said they “sometimes think that AIDS is a punishment for the decline in moral standards.” Yet an almost equal number (43 percent) said they didn't have such thoughts.

As the country is divided, so are policy makers who are determining the nature and scope of public education and prevention programs. That division—already evident in Congress, where a battle over AIDS legislation is shaping up is symbolized by the gulf that separates Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
AIDS/HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sep. 18, 2012  Conquering AIDS
Oct. 2009  Rescuing Children
Oct. 26, 2007  Battling HIV/AIDS
Dec. 03, 2004  Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Oct. 13, 2000  Global AIDS Crisis
Dec. 04, 1998  AIDS Update
Apr. 21, 1995  Combating AIDS
Dec. 25, 1992  Women and AIDS
Oct. 06, 1989  Good News and Bad About Aids
Dec. 16, 1988  AIDS Update
Nov. 06, 1987  AIDS Dilemmas
Aug. 09, 1985  AIDS: Spreading Mystery Disease
Jan. 19, 1979  Venereal Disease: Continuing Problem
Jun. 10, 1960  Venereal Disease Control
Jan. 09, 1943  Venereal Disease in the Armed Forces
Oct. 25, 1938  Control of Venereal Diseases
Medical Research and Advocacy