This article examines the literature regarding the health care provider/AIDS patient relationship for a 14 year period from 1984 through 1998. For each of the four time periods (1984-1989, 1990-1992, 1992-1995, 1996-1998), we present the general themes and concerns of the literature at that time. We begin the review of each time period with a depiction of what was happening in biomedical circles and in the broader society around HIV/AIDS. To provide a closer look at the setting for the work completed within each time period, we draw on research interviews conducted by the first author with nurses involved in AIDS care since the early days of the epidemic. Nurses'retrospective comments on what it was like to do the work at various times reveal the local reality and provide an important rationale for the work that we review. Each time period closes with a discussion of the lessons learned and suggestions of new possibilities for future efforts to enhance the well-being of both health care providers and patients with HIV/AIDS.