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International News

South Africa: Survey Reveals Leading Causes of Death

November 23, 2009

The effect of South Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic can be seen in the leading causes of mortality, which are TB, influenza, and pneumonia, a new report finds.

"This should not be taken to mean that HIV and AIDS was not a direct contributor to a very large proportion of observed mortality, but rather it should be noted that these statistics track, for the most part, direct causes of death," said the South African Institute for Race Relations' "South Africa Survey 2008/9."

In 2007, South Africa had 353,879 TB cases, compared with 73,917 cases in 1995. Among recent diagnoses, about 70 percent were HIV co-infected, the report said. "It is thus reasonable to assume that at least 70 percent of observed mortality from tuberculosis, and by extension a comparable percentage of deaths from influenza/pneumonia, also has HIV and AIDS as an underlying cause," it said.

"It is impossible to say with certainty how much mortality is directly attributable to HIV and AIDS, although the Actuarial Society of South Africa estimates that by 2009 some 2.9 million people will have died from HIV- and AIDS-related diseases in South Africa," the report said. This year, an estimated 382,521 people will die of HIV/AIDS-related causes, and 11.7 percent of the population lives with the infection, according to the report.

The leading causes of mortality were TB and flu/pneumonia among Africans, diseases closely linked with HIV/AIDS. Mixed-race people were hit most by TB, cerebrovascular diseases and diabetes. Indians were most likely to die of diabetes or heart disease, and whites were most likely to die of heart disease.

"These causes of death are closely related to socio-economic status," noted the report.

Back to other news for November 2009

Adapted from:
Independent Online
11.17.2009; South African Press Association

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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