Medicine: AIDS: A Spreading Scourge

Incurable and lethal, the disease is taking a mounting toll

The rumors, fed by his wan and wasted appearance, had circulated for days. Rock Hudson, it was said, was suffering from liver cancer and slipping in and out of a coma at the American Hospital in the Paris suburb of Neuilly. Reality was more shocking than rumor. At the hospital last week, a spokeswoman for the actor bluntly announced, "Mr. Rock Hudson has acquired immune deficiency syndrome."

For most Americans, whose lives have not been touched by the epidemic, the announcement brought home for the first time the grim reality that AIDS is spreading unabated, inevitably striking the famous and the...

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