To date, publicly funded HIV/AIDS prevention efforts for homosexually active men have largely been limited to two traditional public health strategies: mass media information campaigns and HIV testing/contact notification programs. Health educators using either of these strategies have addressed the spread of HIV as they would many other infectious diseases and have relied heavily upon fear tactics or moral arguments to 'sell' the concept of safer sex. Grass-roots gay community efforts to prevent HTV transmission have also largely relied upon these two strategies, as well as upon more informal individual and group counseling activities. In general, however, strategies used by the gay community have tried to present more positive approaches to AIDS prevention, including eroticizing safer sex practices. This article reviews the efficacy of traditional public health approaches as well as the educational models underlying them, and argues that a major shift in focus is needed. A comprehensive health care and sexuality education model for homosexually active men based on the 'PLISSIST' sex therapy model is described and advocated. This model is presented as a more useful one for identifying populations at risk, reducing unsafe sexual behavior and promoting safer sex maintenance. The model identifies five sub-populations among homosexually active men and recommends specialized interventions appropriate to each. Adequate funding for the services included in this model is also advocated.