Aids Moves in Many Ways

Headlines about tainted transplants and infected dentists stir public anxiety, but there is no cause for panic

For medical experts, steering the public through an epidemic is a precarious balancing act: they must maintain a healthy level of fear in people and yet keep them from slipping into either complacency or terror. That job is especially difficult in these days of the AIDS plague, which has become the most frightening and confusing health problem since the polio panic of the 1950s. While some Americans have smugly assumed they are perfectly safe, others have mistakenly fretted that they could pick up HIV (the AIDS virus) from toilet seats or mosquito bites. Throughout the crisis, specialists have offered strong reassurance:...

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