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SCIENCE. 1991 Oct 25; 254:511-2.The 1st Director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Program on AIDS (GPA) abruptly resigned March, 1990. Jonathan Mann led the GPA in an innovative, aggressive, and comparatively non-bureaucratic style since its inception in 1986, building a staff of nearly 200 under an eventual 1990 budget of $90 million. Mann's non-conformist style and ever-growing budget, however, ran counter to the bureaucratic forces in WHO, causing him to leave for a position at Harvard University. A 12-year WHO veteran, Michael H. Merson succeeded Mann, and has since managed the GPA in a more conventional, bureaucratic manner. Senior staff have resigned, and the budget will drop to only $75 million for 1992. Staff replacements are used to the bureaucratic structure and demands of WHO, but lack experience in the field of AIDS. This paper discusses the markedly different management styles and approaches of Merson and Mann, with concern voiced over the future of the GPA. Critics are uncertain of GPA's present direction, and whether or not it is a necessary, positive change in the fight against the AIDS pandemic. As AIDS appears with less frequency and centrality i the world's media, the GPA is needed now even more than just a few years ago to inform the world of the dangers of AIDS. Merson is expected to promote relatively simple treatment options for AIDS, with some emphasis upon technological fixes like the condom. With cuts to the behavioral research budget, however, it is almost certain that inadequate steps will be taken to effect behavioral change for the prevention and control of HIV infection.