A new required psychiatry course for first-year medical students linked the urgent need for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) education with the traditional goal of teaching the biopsychosocial model of illness. The course,"Human Behavior in Disease: AIDS as Paradigm," used HIV/AIDS to demonstrate principles of all life-threatening diseases. Formal evaluations of the course's impact indicated that it significantly reduced students' prejudices and increased positive attitudes regarding AIDS patients. The students' ratings of the course indicated that the AIDS paradigm was understood and valued. Our experience suggests that preclinical psychiatry courses can play an important role in the medical educational response to AIDS, while, at the same time, achieving their traditional curricular goals.