WASHINGTON-In the early 1980s, the lonely voices seeking funds for AIDS research were barely audible amid the din from the biomedical community as a whole. Over the past eight years, however, with the public also demanding that science step up its battle against the devastating-disease, the United States government has poured $5.5 billion into the AIDS epidemic, including $2.1 billion in the current year ending September 30. So far, about 40% of that total, nearly $2.2 billion, has been spent on basic research.

However, while the investment in basic research has added greatly to the store of knowledge about the AIDS virus, it has not yet led to an effective treatment: much less a cure. At the same time, more people are getting sick and living longer with the disease. And their plight threatens to control the hearts and. purse strings of society and drown out those who advocate the...

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