Few diseases and conditions have quite as much attention directed at them as HIV and AIDS. A quick Alta Vista search on the two sets of initials throws up an immediate 32 categories and 1,066 sites. No doubt further thought on the search terms would uncover many others.
Only 'cancer' throws up more.
Public health and photo-opportunities minister Tessa Jowell was adding to this superfluity of websites recently, visiting Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to launch the National AIDS Manual and British HIV Association's AIDSmap, a site aimed both at professionals, patients and carers.
Promising weekly updates on HIV therapies, with comment and overview from specialists to run alongside it, the site also includes a searchable database of HIV and AIDS services throughout the UK and contact details of key agencies worldwide. So it probably justifies its existence in a crowded market.
The Terrence Higgins Trust offers a pretty good service, too. Alongside the clinical information and almost obligatory stuff on safe sex, there is also plenty of helpful information on, for example, housing rights, employment, immigration and insurance issues and living wills.
Nor do I have any quibble with the National AIDS Trust. It is a worthy body producing useful material on, say, the funding of HIV services and its response to the NHS Executive on commissioning specialist services. Anyone commissioning or providing NHS HIV services would find it helpful.
But can there really be any justification for so many separate sites?
These are largely not commercial organisations out to make a profit, but voluntary groups wanting to get their message across.
Isn't it time they worked together to make it easier for people looking for information to find it?
These and other sites of interest can be reached via HSJ's website at www.hsj.co.uk