HIV/AIDS primarily affects people of working age. Population susceptibility is poorly understood. This paper speculates that an operationally defined concept of hope may offer new ways of understanding its social epidemiology. Hope is directly linked to the future in as much as it determines the value people place on that future. Individual and communal levels of hope may vary, with consequent impacts on HIV transmission. HIV/AIDS in turn may reduce hope and thereby reduce societies' future wellbeing. The paper concludes by offering recommendations for research, programming and policy.