Medicine: At Last, the Battle Is Joined

Washington fights AIDS with modest proposals -- and heated debate

"AIDS is surreptitiously spreading throughout our population, and yet we have no accurate measure of its scope. It is time we knew exactly what we are facing."

With those words and after months of cautious deliberation and disagreement within his Administration, President Ronald Reagan finally unveiled a plan for combatting AIDS -- and further fueled the furious debate over how best to contain the virus. The question is fast becoming one of the most hotly contested issues both in Washington and on the international political agenda. As evidence of growing concern, 6,082 AIDS researchers and public health officials from 50 countries...