HIV Cases Continue to Climb in South Africa, Researchers Warn
October 7, 2005
The number of HIV cases in South Africa continues to increase, which could cause life expectancy in one of Africa's most-developed countries to plummet from 63 to 46 years and below, researchers said Thursday.
Almost 6.3 million of South Africa's 47 million population are believed to be HIV-infected, up from 5.3 million in 2003, according to figures presented at the provincial Gauteng AIDS Council conference. In Gauteng, the country's economic hub, HIV prevalence is well over 30 percent, and it is even higher in poor provinces like KwaZulu-Natal, said Alan Whiteside, professor of health economics and HIV at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
If the pandemic continues on its current path, life expectancy in South Africa could drop sharply, Whiteside said. More people are living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa than in any other country worldwide.
The impact of the disease is likely to peak in about 20 years, said Whiteside. "Impact on the demographic structure is going to be greatest. The population is going to be smaller and the structure is going to be different," he said. "We can't say how, but the population may not reach 50 million."
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.