It is now widely accepted that efforts to deal w i th the threat to public health posed by H I V infection w i l l depend for their success on health education and not on some 'magic bullet' in the form of a drug or vaccine. In order to be effective, however, health education must speak directly to the needs o f a wide range o f groups. It is therefore as foolish to produce one leaflet to be read by young people, senior citizens and ethnic minori ty groups alike as it is to imagine that the needs o f widely different constituencies can be met using one particular k ind o f health education involving active learning. What is needed most is diversity o f provision — initiatives and strategies that have their starting point in the lived experience o f different communities. Without this, it may well be that many people in Britain w i l l 'die o f ignorance', despite government exhortations to the contrary.