A detailed, up-to-the-minute look at what we know about AIDS: its causes, treatment, and prevention--both as a public health and a personal health matter. Frederick Siegal, of New York's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, is a central figure in current AIDS research. For background, the authors report on one of the first AIDS cases to come to light--in 1980, when physicians were baffled by the collection of life-threatening symptoms and disorders present in a previously health young man. As researchers and clinicians attacked the mysteries of this case, similar cases started appearing on the East and West coasts, until a clear picture of the problem as a disease and a public health issue began to take shape. In its simplest definition, Acquired Immune Deficiency Disease attacks the immune system itself, destroying its effectiveness and leaving the body defenseless against myriad other organisms. The Siegals specify the symptoms, danger signs, and complications, as well as explaining the workings of the immune system. They then cover the epidemiology: who gets AIDS, and what we know of why. Knowing the affected groups is the first step in tracking down the cause--and also points the way to prevention. (The authors discuss preventive measures that gay men, medical personnel, recipients of frequent blood transfusions, and others at risk can take.) Information on the current state of medical care for AIDS, and a prospectus on research and long-term care, round out the work. Almost nothing here will be new to regular newspaper readers--but the Siegals do wrap up this frightening problem in one solid, complete guide.