The sudden appearance of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) on the world stage in the early 1980s did much to encourage close public scrutiny of cultural and political responses to public health issues. As a policy issue the phenomenon of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/AIDS pandemic is unique in the last twenty years. In the green paper, Reid reported that ‘the epidemic of HIV infection has spread globally with great rapidity’. The Federal government had, through its specially designed consultative arrangements with institutions and interest groups, created mechanisms that maintained political distance from the details of the AIDS issue. Capable and committed advisers and other workers have been recruited from among health professionals and community groups. The Australian Government’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic must be regarded as a relatively successful public policy response to a modern public health issue given the low incidence of the virus in affected groups when compared to other western nations.