The Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) said on Friday that 5.3 million South Africans were HIV-positive and that 236,000 had AIDS. In a statement, the society estimated that AIDS-related diseases accounted for 26 percent of deaths in South Africa in 2000.
The release of the most current projection analysing the impact of HIV/AIDS on the country showed that cumulative deaths from AIDS-related illnesses were expected to exceed one million in just three years time if there were no interventions. This was based on the latest version of the ASSA’s HIV/AIDS and demographic models called the ASSA2000 model. According to the projections, AIDS-related causes were responsible for 139,000 deaths in the country last year, and that figure could rise to five million over the next decade unless there was a “widespread change in sexual behaviour or medical interventions”.
The society’s study suggested that the government “phase in” antiretrovirals to prevent vertical transmission over the next five years. It also recommended that South Africans reduce their number of sexual partners and double their use of condoms.
Such “modest” changes in behaviour and government treatment policy could reduce the number of HIV infections by 1.2 million over the next decade, the society said. Such interventions would also cut by more than 50 percent the number of infants born with the virus. The model was drawn up using, among other information, data from the national survey of public antenatal clinics run by the Health Department, as well as the latest mortality data.
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