AIDS represents a major health problem not only in this country but throughout the world. As a devastating viral infection, its physical symptoms are well recognized. It is now becoming clear that emotional and behavioral symptoms are also major components of the disease. It has been recognized for some time that some of these psychiatric symptoms develop as the patient's emotional response to having a fatal disease; but, it is now also recognized that psychiatric symptoms can be primary manifestations of the illness. What is more, it has been demonstrated that these psychiatric symptoms can be the very first sign of the disease. Accordingly, the role of mental health professionals and psychiatric hospitals in caring for AIDS patients is taking on new significance and is likely to expand greatly.