“Better late than never,” one might say about the U.S. federal government’s response to AIDS, first identified in 1981. Only in the past few years has the government moved aggressively to fund the battle against the epidemic. Today, al- though federal funding has greatly increased, many continue to believe that it is still below what it should be.

In the spring of 1987, AIDS researcher and immunochemist Paul Naylor of George Washington University called for a tripling of the then-current research budget for AIDS, which stood at close to half a billion dollars. That goal may now be in sight. Federal outlays for fiscal year 1988 will likely approach between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, which is the appropriated sum. And the president’s request for fiscal year 1989 is for $2.2 billion. Naylor now says, “We are beginning to approach levels of spending that could be considered maximally effective, given...

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