People in general obtain knowledge about AIDS through the mass media. It is interesting to know how newspapers have dealt with AIDS in recent years, since newspaper s are the most important mass media. The number of articles on AIDS from 1981 to 1994 was investigated in three major Japanese newspapers (Asahi, Yomiuri, and Mainichi), which are distributed nationwide. The first article appeared in 1982, and the number of articles gradually increased to a peak (total 785 articles) in 1987 when the first Japanese female patient was reported. Then, the number of articles decreased to 116 in 1989. The number of articles on AIDS in newspapers was not correlated with the reported number of patients.