Within the next five years, nearly every man and woman in America will personally know someone with AIDS.

Researching the facts for this issue’s first article, “High-Risk Ministry,” led author Andrés Tapia to that sobering conclusion, which tells us what we would just as soon not know—that this “new plague” is everyone’s problem. And that everyone should be concerned. Already, that statement rings eerily true to those involved in the development of this month’s cover stories.

Not so surprisingly, the three physicians—all Christians—who assisted the editors in understanding AIDS, are eyewitnesses of the damage the disease can do. Dr. David Schiedermayer of the University of Chicago’s Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, wrote the article “Choices in Plague Time” out of his personal struggles with feelings about patients with AIDS. Dr. Allan Wright of the Mayo Clinic carefully checked the latest statistics and offered perspective on the disease’s increase; and Sioux Falls physician Wendell Hoffman, in his review of the book The AIDS Cover-Up (to appear next month), helped us separate fact from fantasy.

But these health professionals are not the only ones who know the disease.

Photographer Bill Youngblood, whose work illustrates this month’s cover, felt emotional tugs in accepting this assignment following the AIDS-related death of a man in his church.

And Tapia, who is assistant editor of U (formerly HIS) magazine, has, in writing about AIDS over the past two years, looked intimately into the emotional and spiritual lives of many whose deaths make up the plague’s human toll.

For each of these Christians, the closeness of AIDS poses the challenge of compassion. Thus CT here looks at those in God’s family willing to meet that challenge, ...

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