Part 1 Patient and consumer issues: significant symbols, symbolic boundaries and quilts in the time of AIDS, Mary-Rose Mueller; living with chronic illness, Ariela Royer; (MIS)treating prisoners with AIDS - analyzing health care behind bars, Brett Stockdill; race, gender and socioeconomic patterns in smoking - the effect of social context, Lauralee Virginia Thompson. Part 2 Caregiving and family issues: being needful - family, love and prayer among AIDS volunteers, Susan M. Chambre; taking charge and making do - childhood chronic illness in low-income black families, Shirley A. Hill. Part 3 Patient-provider relationships and communication: some of these questions may sound silly - humour, discomfort and evasion in the mental status examination, Phil Brown and Margaret Drugovich; the discovery of patients' alcoholism by physicians, Sylvia I. Mignon; competing medical and social ideologies and communication accuracy in medical encounters, Ferris J. Ritchey et al; lay referral networks - using conventional medicine and alternative therapies for low back pain, Beverly Wellman. Part 4 Provider issues in the United States: escalation in health care delivery - contextual effects in physician diagnosis and treatment decisions, Jerry Ross and Gary L. Albrecht; reciprocal referrals between podiatrists and physicians - the effects of professional training, practice location and non-medical reasons for referral, Neale R. Chumbler and James W. Grimm; between science and food - nutrition professionals in the health-care hierarchy, Marjorie DeVault; fulfilling the potential - modifying the current long-term care system to meet the demands of persons with AIDS, Diane L. Zablotsky and Marcia G. Ory. Part 5 Comparative perspectives and provider issues: dependency, health care resources and basic needs in noncore nations - a cross-national analysis, Hugh F. Lena and Bruce London; physician authority and the autonomy of nurses and patients - attitudes of British and American medical students, Richard Levinson et al.