GENERAL - The committee believes that AIDS is a special case among current diseases. It is a fatal, infectious disease for which there is now no cure and its sufferers appear to remain infectious for life.
EPIDEMIOLOGY - The committee believes that the evidence that HIV causes AIDS is scientifically conclusive. . . . Current information suggests that the vast majority of persons who are seropositive - that is, carrying antibodies - for HIV will eventually progress to AIDS if no treatment is found to slow or halt the progression of the infection.SPECTRUM OF INFECTION - It has long been apparent . . . that many HIV-infected persons suffer from clinical syndromes and laboratory test abnormalities that signal the presence of disease but do not meet CDC (Centers for Disease Control) criteria for AIDS. Earlier in the epidemic, certain clusters of symptoms were said to belong to an AIDS-related complex (ARC), which was incorporated in a CDC definition but never used for case reporting. By now, however, the committee believes that the term ARC is no longer useful, either from a clinical or a public health perspective, and that HIV infection itself should be considered a disease.
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION - The committee believes that the fear of discrimination is a major constraint to the wide acceptance of potentially effective public health measures.
The committee supports the enactment of a federal statute specifically designed to prevent discrimination on the basis of HIV infection or AIDS.
EDUCATION - The committee believes that the gravity of the HIV epidemic is such that CDC should be allowed to purchase advertising time and space and should be supplied with the funds to do so.
Explicit information on the risks associated with gay sex and the way those risks can be minimized does not `promote or encourage' homosexual activities. . . .
One obstacle to more effective AIDS education has been the long-standing refusal of the media to accept commercial condom advertising.
TESTING - The committee recommends expanded voluntary testing combined with counseling of all those whose behavior may have put them at risk for exposure to HIV. Those who test positive have a moral obligation to inform and protect their sexual or needle-sharing partners.
The committee believes that, at this time, the only mandatory screening appropriate for public health purposes involves blood, tissue, and organ donation.
COMMISSION - The committee proposes the establishment of a national commission on AIDS with a 5-year, renewable term. The commission chair should be a senior, recognized leader, engaged full time in this capacity and reporting directly to the president. In addition to the chair, the commission should consist of eight other members, each of whom is a senior expert of national stature in one of the areas of particular relevance to AIDS. Each commissioner should in turn head a panel of experts.