African Journal of AIDS Research

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Youth mortality due to HIV/AIDS in South Africa, 2001–2009: An analysis of the levels of mortality using life table techniques

Nicole De Wet, Somefun Oluwaseyi, Clifford Odimegwu


South Africa has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world. It is estimated that 5.38 million South Africans are living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, new infections among adults aged 15+ were reportedly 316 900 in 2011. New infections among children (0–14 years old) was also high in 2011 at 63 600. This paper examines South Africa’s mortality due to HIV/AIDS among the youth (15–34 years old). This age group is of fundamental importance to the economic and social development of the country. However, the challenges of youth development remain vast and incomparable. One of these challenges is the impact of HIV/AIDS on mortality. Life table techniques are used to estimate among others, sex differentials in death rates for the youth population, probability of dying from HIV/AIDS before the age of 35 and life expectancy should HIV/AIDS be eradicated from the population. The study used data from the National Registry of Deaths, as collated by Statistics South Africa from 2001 to 2009. Results show that youth mortality due to HIV/AIDS has remained consistently higher among older youths than in younger ones. By sex, mortality due to this cause has also remained consistent over the period, with mortality due to HIV/AIDS being higher among females than males. Cause-specific mortality rates and proportional mortality ratios reflect the increased mortality of older youth (especially 30–34 years old) and females within the South African population. Probability of dying from HIV/AIDS shows that over the period, fluctuations in likelihood of mortality have occurred, but for both males and females (of all age groups) the chances of dying from this cause decreased in 2007–2009.

Keywords: adolescents, cause-specific mortality rates, proportional mortality ratios, probability of dying, life expectancy, sex, death notification forms

African Journal of AIDS Research 2014, 13(1): 13–20

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