It would be gratifying to be able to report that after a decade of the AIDS scourge, public awareness in this country had been fully raised in order to combat the deadly epidemic. That is not the case. Most people do not even know that October has been designated AIDS Awareness Month. And today public policy regarding AIDS is, if anything, more confused and ineffectual than ever.
Despite the extraordinary scientific advances that have allowed researchers to isolate the HIV virus and trace its routes of transmission through the population, AIDS has emerged as an unmitigated worldwide public health catastrophe.
Since Jan. 1, 1981, 182,000 Americans have been diagnosed with AIDS, more than half of whom have died. In Maryland, 3,817 AIDS cases have been reported; of those, 2,400 people have died. Baltimore city reported 1,749 cases, of which 1,113 have been fatal.