Death Rates Increasing in South Africa Primarily Because of HIV/AIDS, Government Report Says
The death rate among adults in South Africa increased significantly from 1997 through 2004, according to a government report released on Thursday by Statistics South Africa, the New York Times reports. South Africa does not record AIDS-related illnesses as a cause of death, but the age patterns of the increased deaths and the causes reported for them -- including parasitic infections, immune disorders and maternal conditions -- indicate that AIDS-related illnesses are fueling the growing rates, according to the report (Wines, New York Times, 9/8). The report analyzes deaths among people ages 15 through 64 (Flanagan, SAPA/Mail and Guardian, 9/8). According to the report, the death rate among women ages 20 through 39 increased more than threefold from 1997 through 2004 and more than doubled for men ages 30 through 44 during the same timeframe. These two age groups also had the highest incidence of deaths because of AIDS-related illnesses, according to the report. In addition, the percentage of pregnant women who are HIV-positive increased from 1% in 1990 to 17% in 1997 and to 30% by 2004, the report says. According to the report, the average duration from initial HIV infection to death is eight to 10 years (AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/7). Barbara Anderson, a University of Michigan demographer who led the South Africa analysis, said AIDS-related illnesses likely are not the entire reason for the increase in death rates and named increasing obesity and diabetes rates as factors (New York Times, 9/8). The report also tied the increase in the country's death rates to nutritional deficiencies and other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria (AP/International Herald Tribune, 9/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.