What better excuse than World AIDS Day to dish out the grades? While Washington, DC’s AIDS Action scored the feds’ 1998 response to the epidemic, New York’s Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund took a red pen to several other players.

AIDS Action’s panel included former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, Miss America ’98 Kate Shindle, former Congressman Steve Gunderson and AIDS advocate Mary Fisher, who strongly disagreed with the A- (see chart), citing the lack of research on women HIVers.

Lambda’s third-annual report card both  gushed—with A+ across the board for POZ’s December ’98 covergirl Jane Fowler, chair of the National Association on HIV Over 50; syringe-swap activists Chris Lanier and Diane McCague; and HIV positive inmate Greg Smith—and flushed—with F’s to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; insurance giant Mutual of Omaha; and Barnes & Noble, for pulling the September ’98 POZ off the shelves. A special “star” award went to the youth activist group YELL, and drug czar Barry McCaffrey wore the dunce cap for the second year in a row.