A scattershot guide for those caring for a person with AIDS, this is more chatty than practical. Martelli (whom the authors call an AIDS ""carepartner"") and therapists Peltz and Messina haven't been able to focus or concentrate the hundreds of interviews done for this guide to distill out the practical guidelines one needs to care for a friend or relative with AIDS; rather, they repeatedly bog down in endless, confusing case histories (skip-ping back and forth until we lose track of who's who) grouped together under headings of too-general advice. The outline is fine: definitions, medical and emotional aspects of receiving the diagnosis, accompanying medical problems of the disease, legal/financial matters, finding help, relationship questions, dealing with grief--but too often, after an overly generalized introductory statement (""our reactions [to diagnosis] are as different as our personalities. . . More than likely, whatever your reaction, it is appropriate""), the authors wade right in to multiple case stories that are too numerous and too choppy to keep the players straight or really learn from. And, occasionally, there is inaccurate or outdated information--most notably on the reliability of blood tests for AIDS (these are now quite dependable). Concerned readers (or ""carepartners"") will do better with most other recent guides to the disease, from which they can work out their own practical solutions to day-today questions.