Impact of HIV/AIDS mortality on South Africa's life expectancy and implications for the elderly population

  • CJ Mba


The study seeks to raise awareness and expand knowledge about the deleterious effect of HIV/AIDS mortality on South Africa's life expectancy, a country with a relatively high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate (19. percent). Using the multiple and associated single decrement life table techniques, the study estimates the total number of South Africans who would die from HIV/AIDS by the time they reach age 75 from a hypothetical cohort of 100,000 live births, assuming that the mortality conditions of 1996 for South Africa prevailed. The findings indicate that 5.7 percent of babies will eventually die of HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, 7.7 percent and 11.5 percent of those aged 60 years, and 75 years and above respectively will die of HIV/AIDS. Overwhelming majority of deaths will come from persons within the reproductive and productive age groups. A tremendous gain in life expectancy to the tune of about 26 years would result in the absence of HIV/AIDS. The elderly persons, who are the grandmothers and grandfathers, are likely to manage family affairs following the death of their adult children. This condition is likely to impoverish the elderly population. Everything should be done to reduce HIV/AIDS mortality in order to increase life expectancy in the country.

African Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 14 (3-4) 2007: pp. 201-211

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eISSN: 1022-9272