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International News

South African AIDS Infections to Peak at 7.7 Million: Report

April 3, 2003

The number of South Africans with HIV/AIDS will peak in the next three years, an annual report on labor relations and employee benefits in South Africa said Wednesday. As a result of the pandemic, the report continued, the decline in the working-age population will translate into a labor shortfall and the likelihood of declining productivity.

"The number of people infected with AIDS in South Africa is projected to peak at about 7.7 million in 2006-2007 and taper off to about 7.2 million by 2010, mainly as a result of increased AIDS mortality," said the report, which was produced by a private labor consultancy and is used by business and the government. "In the face of this potential for macroeconomic disaster, it is very clear that massive interventions will be necessary to halt, or even slow down the progress of the epidemic to manageable proportions."

The report estimates 1 million people ages 20-59 will develop AIDS in the next seven years, while the number of economic dependents, those under 20 and over 60, will increase by 1.6 million. As the costs of sickness and related benefits and pensions increase for surviving dependents, decreasing tax revenues will leave fewer resources for development. The predicted drop in productivity and spending on goods is likely to push companies to relocate to less affected countries, leading to a potential decline in investment from foreign sources.

Clem Sumter, a strategist for Anglo American, South Africa's largest exchange-listed company, said most small- and medium-sized businesses still do not see AIDS as a strategic issue and will not act until the disease has an impact on their bottom line.

Back to other CDC news for April 3, 2003

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Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More HIV Statistics on South Africa