October 17, 1986

Public Health

JAMA. 1986;256(15):2073-2075. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380150083019

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) continues to dominate both the public health field and the medical literature,1 as it has for five years. However, despite the continuing media attention to every new development on distribution of cases, clinical manifestations, and the possibilities for treatment or a vaccine, this has not been a year of breakthroughs. Unlike the special moments that have changed the understanding of the syndrome or the potential for control (such as the reports of the first cases, the understanding of transmission through sexual practices, the recognition of blood transmission, the isolation of a virus, and the development of an antibody test), this has been a year of consolidation of information and use of the new technologies to refine earlier theories.

Indeed, it is striking that the early epidemiologic analysis was of such quality that in March 1983 it was possible to publish prevention guidelines2 that are