Medicine: An Outbreak of Sensationalism

In a new book on AIDS, Masters and Johnson stir up old fears -- and plenty of fury

Most people think that fear should have no place in the cool, reasoned realm of medicine. But its presence, strengthened by prejudice and denial, has whipsawed the public response to AIDS -- from early dismissal to doomsday and back again -- ever since the epidemic began seven years ago. Last week, in a sensationalistic book guaranteed to punch panic buttons across the nation, Sex Therapists Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson triggered an uproar in the scientific community. Contrary to accepted wisdom and to all that is so far known by medicine, they claim the "AIDS virus is now running rampant...

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