President Reagan's speech on AIDS may have been sensible, but it is too little, too late. The president does a tremendous disservice to the public by ignoring the recommendations of his surgeon general (and the majority of "AIDS experts") concerning the issue of mandatory AIDS testing. His policy for widespread testing merely identifies individuals who have or have not been infected by the virus. It does not address the need for establishing a public health-care system to provide individual counseling, education and preventative health care.

If we decide to test the public, we must assume the responsibility of establishing a public health-care system to provide professional counseling ("breaking the news," interpretation of test results, notification of contacts, recommendations for risk reduction, etc.) and follow-up care. Testing centers with extensive experience have determined that each individual requires at least one hour of personal counseling -- regardless of whether the individual tests positive or negative. Someone has to do this, and it won't happen without public commitment, staff and funds.

A mandatory (or "routine") testing program implies a sophisticated public-health screening system operated by administrators, health-care providers and professional counselors who are specially trained to deal with the many personal, emotional and practical issues of this devastating disease. Most public-health programs, whether they be in large metropolitan areas or suburban/rural America, are not prepared to provide this wide scope of services on such a large scale. Nor are there adequate public funds allocated to support such a program.

Mr. Reagan knows this -- government health officials and private and public health-care organizations have been lobbying the administration for years. Meanwhile, thousands die from AIDS, and many more thousands of innocent people get infected. Mr. Reagan speaks of compassion, education and research, but there is little action. I agree with Leonard Matlovich, who called for a "Manhattan Project on AIDS." The American people deserve an "all out" effort from the best AIDS experts. We need swift and rational action from President Reagan, not so much empty rhetoric. ROBERT B. VOWELS Washington The writer, an assistant professor of medicine at Georgetown University, is a member of the Mayor's AIDS Task Force and AIDS Advisory Committee.

I welcomed the president's first speech to address publicly the AIDS crisis because I recognize the importance of his involvement in setting policies and educating the nation. Yet I disagree with The Post's editorial "Mr. Reagan on AIDS" {June 2}.

His call for increased testing to control the spread of the disease is misguided. It is contrary to the position held by the majority of public health officials, the Centers for Disease Control, the surgeon general and the president of AMFAR, the very group whose fund raiser he recently addressed. Testing for the AIDS virus and receiving a negative result could lead many into a false sense of security, given the three to six months necessary for some to test positively after an exposure.

Testing immigrants and prisoners may seem reasonable and less controversial, but it could ease the way for mandatory testing programs that have not been well thought out. As the epidemic grows exponentially so will the fear. Mr. Reagan's statements about protecting those with AIDS or positive test results from discrimination is merely lip service without strong antidiscrimination legislation to back it up. The confidentiality of test results must be guaranteed if voluntary testing is to attract those at greatest risk of having the disease.

The Post's editorial praised the president for taking this first step, but it is difficult to compensate for three years of silence and lack of attention to the crisis. I hope that Mr. Reagan's actions will eventually speak louder than his words. THOMAS S. ROSATO Washington

Vice President Bush's remark, following his speech at the Third International Conference on AIDS, points up, in the most telling way, this administration's unrelenting approach to a devastating disease.

"Who was that, some gay group?" was his query, after an outburst of booing greeted Mr. Bush's cheerleading of the president's plan to expand testing.

When the most recent figures indicate a more rapid growth of AIDS among heterosexuals, those who refuse to relinquish the concept of "blame the life style" are still singing the old anti-gay tune, with but a minor change in the lyrics. With this kind of leadership -- and with the police giving us yet another example of how to treat the "untouchables" by sporting yellow rubber gloves -- how on earth are we to make any psychological, let alone scientific, headway against this indiscriminate killer?

There is a vast difference between mouthing the word "compassion" and a behavioral follow-up. BARBARA RICH Charlottesville