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October 16, 1991

Congressional AIDS Commission in Limelight, Likely to Remain There for Another Year

JAMA. 1991;266(15):2050. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470150018004

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THREE RECENT events have pushed the National Commission on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) back into the limelight.

First, it has issued a comprehensive 165-page report calling the nation to arms against AIDS.

Second, one of the commission's 15 members, Belinda Mason, 33, a Kentucky journalist (who acquired AIDS through a blood transfusion in 1987), died September 9, just as the commission's report was going to press.

Third, another patient with AIDS, Kimberly Bergalis, 23, (who apparently acquired the infection during 1987 molar extractions in Florida), testified before Congress in favor of mandatory human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing for all health care workers.

What the Report Says  The commission's report says that, unless the nation girds itself promptly to deal seriously with the issues posed by the HIV epidemic, the country will "face relentless, expanding tragedy.... There is only a little time left to recognize that the threat of HIV is