Inter Press Service (01.27.12) - Wednesday, February 01, 2012
South Africa should have a population of 55 million citizens
in 2012, but the toll of HIV/AIDS makes the figure closer to
50.6 million people, according to a new study by the South
African Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR).
The research organization's analysis used data from the
Actuarial Society of South Africa and the South African
Institute for Futures Research. It found almost one-third of
all deaths in 2011 were AIDS-related. By 2025, the proportion
of AIDS deaths is expected to rise 121 percent from the level
in 2000, SAIRR said.
"The decrease of population growth has a negative impact on
South Africa, because the group most affected by HIV and AIDS
is aged between 15 and 49 years, which is the most productive
part of the population," said SAIRR researcher Thuthukani
Ndebele. "If this age group continues to die early, we will
see an acute social and economic impact throughout the
SAIRR predicts the total number of South Africans living with
HIV/AIDS will reach 6 million in 2015 - double the number
recorded in 2000.
In addition to reduced life expectancy and increased
mortality, HIV/AIDS causes broader social ills such as
orphanhood and child-headed households. UNICEF figures show
that in 2009, 2 million South African children had lost one or
both parents to the disease.
SAIRR is especially worried about the burden HIV/AIDS will
have on the country's public health system. In 2009, South
Africa spent nearly 9 percent of its GDP on health, according
to World Bank data. This percentage could increase in the near
future. "Health budgets might have to increase even further,
if government wants to prevent HIV/AIDS having an even more
negative impact on the economy than it already has," said