WHO Says HIV/AIDS-Related Deaths Will Peak in Next Five Years, Then Decline
The World Health Organization on Monday in its updated Global Burden of Disease report reduced an earlier forecast of HIV/AIDS mortality rates, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. According to WHO, the number of HIV/AIDS-related deaths worldwide is expected to peak in the next five years -- from 2.2 million in 2008 to a maximum of 2.4 million in 2012 -- before declining to 1.2 million in 2030.
WHO previously had said HIV/AIDS-related deaths would rise from 2.8 million in 2002 to 6.5 million in 2030, assuming that antiretroviral drugs reached 80% of HIV-positive people worldwide by 2012. Colin Mathers, WHO coordinator for epidemiology and the burden of disease, said, "Deaths (from HIV/AIDS) will continue to increase somewhat for a few years ... by 2030 they would have declined from current levels today" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 10/27). Mathers added that the report "builds in the revisions to HIV mortality and more optimistic projections of HIV deaths that" WHO and other U.N. agencies have "produced, which suggest that the epidemic may have peaked, or will peak in the next five years or so, and then AIDS deaths will start to decline."
The study also predicts that the percentage of deaths worldwide linked to noncommunicable diseases will increase from 60% to 75% by 2030. It adds that this means people will live longer and increasingly die from cancers and heart disease rather than infectious diseases at an earlier age. According to the report, the leading causes of death worldwide are heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, chronic respiratory disease, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (Schlein, VOA News, 10/27).
The study is available online (.pdf).