The U.S. surgeon general, Dr. C. Everett Koop, speaking to reporters at an AIDS conference in London, called acquired immune deficiency syndrome the "No. 1 health problem on this planet." Koop said he favors doing "anything we can" to halt it, but he stopped short of advocating the dispensation of needles to drug addicts who spread the disease. He also denied that the United States is not acting aggressively enough to publicize the dangers of AIDS, saying the country faces cultural and moral restraints. Health ministers and AIDS experts from nearly 150 countries are attending the three-day meeting to look for ways to educate the world's population about the dangers of AIDS.