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September 16, 1992

Toward a Comprehensive HIV Prevention Program for the CDC and the Nation

Author Affiliations

From the Regional AIDS Division, National Center for Prevention Services, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga.

JAMA. 1992;268(11):1444-1447. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490110082034

THE CENTERS for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, Ga, has a well-deserved reputation for making clear analyses of health problems and taking rapid action to improve the public's health. The CDC's success has been marked by its ability to keep science first. It has learned from experience that organizations that base their actions primarily on scientific findings rather than political considerations survive as effective entities, while those that do the opposite lose credibility and enter a spiral of decay. The CDC is known worldwide for its frankness and honesty, for its ability to scientifically assess the extent of a disease problem, evaluate the tools available to limit the damage it may cause, develop methods to apply those tools, and evaluate the effectiveness of their application.

Despite its reputation, with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, CDC has been soundly criticized for ineptness. Why is this? In search of an answer, I