Testing Dilemma

Washington prepares a controversial new policy to fight AIDS

Public policy, like medicine, is an inexact science, and when it comes to fighting a frightening, mystifying disease, policymakers, like doctors, are often uncertain how to proceed. For more than a year, as anxiety about AIDS has spread across the nation, the Reagan Administration has been paralyzed by a debate about whether to advocate widespread, mandatory testing for antibodies to the AIDS virus. Secretary of Education William Bennett has been outspoken in arguing that testing is the only way to track and ultimately contain the spread of the fatal virus, which has been detected in nearly 36,000 Americans but may already...