Prevention of transmission of HIV infection is the most important public health concern of the AIDS epidemic. To date, unfortunately, we have failed to contain the epidemic. The increasingly rapid spread of HIV into the IV drug-abusing population and subsequent heterosexual transmission represent a further failure of the public health system. Current organization of the public health programs, especially the lack of independence and adequate financial and personnel support, is an extremely serious problem. More funding may not be the answer, unless there is better organization. Identification of infected individuals and a vigorous education program must be implemented. HIV antibody-positive individuals should be followed carefully in order to evaluate the risk factors for AIDS and efficacy of specific interventions.