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United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Fact Sheet
AIDS Information Resources

A comprehensive AIDS information service is vital to enable people to combat the AIDS epidemic. Scientists, physicians, educators, and other health professionals need rapid access to the latest information on AIDS research, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention. Consumers require similar access to appropriate information for decision-making about their behavioral choices and treatment. Community-based organizations, clinics and other types of service providers also need access to high quality, accurate and timely information for their staff and clients. The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library, has been developing AIDS information services since the AIDS crisis began in 1980.

Legislative Mandate

The Health Omnibus Program Extension of 1988 (P.L. 100-607) called for NLM to help create a "data bank of information on the results of research with respect to acquired immune deficiency syndrome conducted in the United States and other countries" [Sect. 3217 (c)]. This legislation supplements NLM's original mandate under which the Library collects, preserves, and disseminates the world's published medical information.

Free NLM Resources on AIDS

The online AIDS resources and other NLM databases are searchable at libraries, other institutions, and through personal computers.

MEDLINE®/PubMed® is the NLM's premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. The AIDS subset of this database is available through PubMed® and contains references to journal articles published since 1980. Over 72 percent of these references have abstracts. In addition to journal articles, this subset includes citations to HIV/AIDS-related newsletters.

The NLM Gateway enables a user to retrieve information from several NLM resources including MEDLINE®, LocatorPlus (the online catalog of books and audiovisuals) and meeting abstracts. Abstracts are included from the Fifth through the Fifteenth International Conferences on AIDS, Symposium on Non-Human Primate Models for AIDS, the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, and others.

AIDSinfo is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) project providing information on HIV/AIDS clinical trials and treatment. Its mission is to offer the latest federally approved information on HIV/AIDS clinical research, treatment and prevention, and medical practice guidelines for consumers and health care providers. AIDSinfo is a central resource for current information on federally and privately funded clinical trials for AIDS patients and others infected with HIV. AIDS clinical trials evaluate experimental drugs and other therapies for adults and children at all stages of HIV infection -- from patients who are HIV positive with no symptoms to those with various symptoms of AIDS. As the main dissemination point for federally approved HIV treatment and prevention guidelines, AIDSinfo provides information about the current treatment regimens for HIV infection and AIDS-related illnesses, including the prevention of HIV transmission from occupational exposure and mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy. In addition to the web site, voice access to information specialists who will provide assistance in both English and Spanish is available at 1-800-HIV-0440. This service is supported by NIH (OAR, NIAID, NLM), HRSA, CMS, and CDC.

GenBank®, maintained and operated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), is an international collection of all known DNA and amino acid sequences and includes over 177,000 HIV sequences. Integrated retrieval tools have been built to search the sequence data stored in GenBank and to link the results of a search to other related sequences, as well as to bibliographic citations.

NCBI also supports a collection of resources specifically designed for retroviral research, including:

These are designed to lead to taxa-specific resources and tools. The Retrovirus Home page also provides external links to the NIAID's Division of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; the LANL (Los Alamos National Laboratory) HIV Sequence Database; the Stanford HIV RT (reverse transcriptase) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology HIV Structural Database.

DIRLINE® is an online, annotated directory listing some 10,000 health organizations. It includes information on over 1,000 national and international organizations that provide AIDS-related services or information including direct support services, counseling, and databases; clinics and hospitals are not included. DIRLINE may be searched at

AIDS Posters: NLM's History of Medicine Division (HMD) collects public health posters, including posters on AIDS. This international collection includes approximately 2,000 posters dealing with HIV AIDS, and related topics. For information about how the Library acquires and distributes its pictorial materials, contact: HMD Reference Desk: Phone: (301) 402-8878. To view the posters online, go to Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) at and search on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. IHM contains nearly 60,000 images in all aspects of health and medicine.

For information about HIV/AIDS go to

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Last reviewed: 09 May 2008
Last updated: 20 February 2007
First published: 02 May 2003
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