New York Times (06/28/92), P. E 5
As the AIDS epidemic grows older, experts are concerned that the nation
is becoming numbed to the disease. Researchers now tell of a "mature"
epidemic, of the "plateauing" of new cases and deaths, and of a group of
HIV-positive people that is in a "steady state." Through March, 218,002
cases of AIDS had been reported, and 139,000 deaths. According to Dr.
Harold Jaffe, acting chief of the AIDS division of the Centers for
Disease Control, from 50,000 to 60,000 people will develop AIDS during
each of the next few years. Federal experts believe the number of people
who die of AIDS will increase until it levels off at about 50,000 a year
by 1994. Approximately one million Americans are now HIV-positive,
estimates the CDC, which also believes that 40,000 to 80,000 are newly
infected each year--about the same number who die. The epidemic requires
more spending on programs like Medicaid and Social Security, yet
discretionary spending--money for research, prevention, and patient
services--is leveling off. In order to stave off illness, HIV testing,
frequent visits to the doctor, and early treatment with medication are
all recommended, although poor people do not qualify for government aid
until they are so sick that they are disabled.