Sidebar: The AIDS Research Evaluators

The 100-plus members of a newly constituted National Institutes of Health task force have begun their daunting task: a comprehensive reevaluation of NIH's entire $1.4 billion AIDS portfolio, including both intramural and extramural research. Compounding the challenge for the scientists and AIDS activists who make up the task force is a withering schedule. They will have to produce a report due in January 1996, to aid in planning the 1998 Office of AIDS Research (OAR) budget.

Some panel members wonder if they can pull it off. They worry about getting the information they need quickly from 24 NIH institutes and centers that are not always in sync. More important to many task force members, a number of whom have sat on AIDS panels before, is whether their efforts will make a difference this time--whether their recommendations will become the government's AIDS agenda.

But interviews with...

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