The beginning and early spread of the world-wide epidemic of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been paralleled closely by a rapidly expanding literature concerned with many aspects of the disease. In order to assess the growth of the AIDS literature, a quantitative analysis was conducted focusing on the number of articles, the number of journals contributing, the number of languages used, and the number of countries of origin of publications over time (a bibliometric study). The growth of the popular literature was also studied. Three online databases — MEDLINE, Magazine Index, and the National Newspaper Index — were examined from 24 September 1982 (the date the Centers for Disease Control first adopted the name acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) through the end of 1986 for the popular literature and through the end of 1987 for MEDLINE. A survey of the MEDLINE file showed that by the end of 1987, twenty-five languages were represented in articles from fifty-four countries published in 1170 different journal titles.