Yet even though HIV-infected people may not develop symptoms of AIDS, one feature of infection will remain: They will still be able to transmit the virus to others. Here lies the final irony of the AIDS epidemic.

While the world looks to science to end the spread of AIDS, the best solution is also the simplest and requires absolutely no technology. Scientists stress that no one ever needs to become infected again, if only people would take care not to engage in behaviors that place their tissues in contact with the body fluids of an infected person. However, if abstaining from these activities is not possible, the simple use of condoms during sexual activities would greatly reduce the number of new infections. Programs that encourage the use of clean needles by intravenous drug users also would drastically reduce the number of new infections. In short, the solution to the world AIDS crisis is to change human behavior. Therein lies the greatest hope and greatest tragedy for eradicating the new plague, AIDS.


Benditt, J.M., and B. R. Jasny, eds. 1993. AIDS: The Unanswered Questions. Science, May 28, 1993. Volume 260, pp. 1253-1293.

Mann, J., D. J. M. Tarantola, and T. W. Netter. 1992. AIDS in the World . Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Shilts, R. 1987. And the Band Played On. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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