While New York City has 29 percent of all AIDS victims in the United States (San Francisco 10 percent, Los Angeles 9 percent, Miami 3 percent, Newark 2 percent), the remaining 47 percent of people with AIDS live in smaller communities throughout the country. Modern Medicine (55#10:80) reports that one recently diagnosed patient is a farmer who milks 40 cows every morning and evening.

For every person with AIDS, there are about 100 others who do not yet have the disease, but who have become infected with the virus. Most of these people will ultimately develop AIDS and die from it sometime during the next three to 10 years, authorities believe.

Despite this chilling evidence of spread, many commentators who lack the necessary information and understanding have been suggesting that the worst is over, and that AIDS remains essentially a disease of homosexuals, drug addicts, and members of certain urban minority groups, among whom it has already peaked. This is not only untrue, but it lulls people into a false sense of security and suggests that we need no longer take steps to defend ourselves against this killer disease.

Returning to plain facts, the virus has already infected 11 percent of prostitutes nationwide, is showing up more and more often in our “normal” heterosexual population, and public health authorities are now talking about the start of “the breakout” phase in the spread of AIDS throughout the U.S.A. Casual sex coupled with ignorance of the facts about the epidemic provide nearly ideal conditions for the spread of this disease. Furthermore, so long as our TV personalities, movies, magazines, and commercials continue presenting sex as an attractive recreational activity, many people will have difficulty in viewing it otherwise and in seeing the need for safer behavior.

If we are to halt the transmission of AIDS, the Surgeon General believes we must do a better job in educating people about it and in getting them to become more responsible in their relationships with one another.


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