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HIV/AIDS Could Reduce Life Expectancy in South Africa to 46 Years, Researchers Say

October 11, 2005

HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in South Africa continue to increase and could reduce the life expectancy of South Africans from age 63 to 46, University of KwaZulu-Natal researcher Alan Whiteside said at an AIDS conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday, Xinhuanet reports. Whiteside reported that there are nearly 6.3 million South Africans living with HIV/AIDS and "most of them [do] not know it," according to Xinhuanet. He warned that in the next two decades the impact of the virus will peak when more children become orphans as a result of the virus. He also said the effect will be felt within the country's government, as well as throughout communities, municipalities, work places and schools. "Impact on the demographic structure is going to be greatest," Whiteside said, adding, "The population is going to be smaller and the structure is going to be different." Acting Gauteng province Premier Gwen Ramokgopa said that while the virus is not spreading as quickly as it was previously, prevalence rates were still increasing (Xinhuanet, 10/6).

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