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International News

Southern Africa Life Expectancy Rising Slightly: UN

October 22, 2010

A new UN report finds that an AIDS-related drop in life expectancy in southern Africa during the 1990s may have leveled out, though women in the region continue to be hardest-hit by the epidemic.

The report, "The World's Women 2010," finds that women comprise the majority of HIV-positive adults in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in northern Africa and the Middle East. While antiretroviral treatment has brought about a slight rise to life expectancy in southern Africa in recent years, it remains the only region in the world where life expectancy today is lower than in the early 1990s, particularly for women.


From 1990 to 1995, life expectancy at birth in the region -- composed of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, and Lesotho -- was 64 for women and 59 for men. By 2000-05, it had fallen to 51 for women and 49 for men. From 2005 to 2010, life expectancy rose slightly to 52 for women and 51 for men. The UN report attributes the increase to the improved availability of HIV treatment in the region.

In eastern, central, and western Africa, regions that also include countries hard-hit by HIV/AIDS, life expectancy has steadily increased over the same period and currently stands at 57 for women and 54 for men.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to approximately two-thirds of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. In South Africa, 5.7 million people are HIV-infected, and roughly 1,000 die every day from AIDS-related complications.

In all regions of the world, women live longer than men by an average of five years, the report found. The longest life expectancies were noted in Japan (86 for women) and Iceland (80 for men). Afghanistan and Zimbabwe have the lowest life expectancies: below 45 for men and women alike.

Back to other news for October 2010

Adapted from:
10.21.2010; Patrick Worsnip

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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 on HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa

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