The purpose of the study is to facilitate international co-operation and national development on AIDS-policy by describing and comparing the programmes on the control of AIDS in the five Nordic countries. This article is focusing especially on community and individual considerations in legislation and test policy regarding HIV-infection in relation to general testing, testing of special groups, registration, voluntariness and confidentiality. The data were collected in the period of April-December 1987 by a review of existing documental material, mailed questionnaires to key persons in the health agencies in each country and personal interviews with 60 representatives of relevant organisations and institutions. The analysis of the data demonstrate that all the Nordic countries are seeking compromises which try to satisfy individual as well as community needs, although with different weight attached to the elements involved. Compared with international recommendations, national AIDS-policies in the Nordic countries in some instances do not fully respect voluntariness and confidentiality. It is concluded that AIDS-policy should be studied in the context of national traditions concerning general health policy, individual rights and community protection.