Special Feature Interim Report of the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic: Chairman's Recommendations-Part I

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Chairman's Comment.When the 13-member Presidential Commission On the HIV Epidemic began hearings in September 1987 the enormity of the task to help the country face its greatest and most complex public health crisis ever soon became clear. Accordingly, the Commission's mandate, as established by President Reagan's executive order, was comprehensive. As key to developing a national strategy, we were to advise the White House “on the public health dangers including the medical, legal, ethical, social, and economic impact, from the spread of the HIV and resulting illnesses including AIDS, AIDS related complex, and other related conditions.” This included evaluating research activities, assessing the adequacy of the health care delivery system, reviewing legal liabilities, discrimination, education and much more. To manage this mass of data the Commission brought on a staff of 30 and planned a sweeping and disciplined set of public hearings where we could personally receive reports from and question the nation's top authorities on these many issues. When our work is completed in June, 1988, the Commission will have had about 45 full days of hearings and site visits. Many were held in Washington, D.C. but others were held in San Francisco, New York, Miami, Nashville and elsewhere. We will have had before us roughly 600 witnesses. They include several Cabinet officers, heads of the FDA, the CDC, the NIH, major corporations, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, nurses and doc- tors. We have heard from many persons with AIDS, including two who have since died. You have before you the first fruits of this process in the form of our interim policy recommendations of March 15, 1988. These cover less than half our work and will be inculcated in our final report due at the White House on June 24, 1988.

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