Shocking Aids Figures Revealed

September 21 2001 at 07:25PM

A total of 5.3 million people were infected with HIV in South Africa last year and about 236 000 were living with Aids, the Actuarial Society of SA (Assa) said on Friday.

It said in a statement that in the same year, 139 000 people were estimated to have died of Aids - 26 percent of all deaths in 2000 - and about 64 000 babies were infected by their mothers.

This is based on the latest version of the Assa's Aids and demographic models called Assa2000 model.

The model projects that without a change in behaviour or medical interventions, a further five million people could be expected to die of Aids over the next 10 years.

It shows that a "modest" change in behaviour would result in 1,2-million fewer people infected with the virus in 10 years time.

The change includes phasing in, over the next five years, a mother-to-child intervention programme, doubling condom use and a reduction by 15 percent in the number of partners.

This would also prevent more than half of the babies from becoming infected, but would only save about 250 000 deaths over the next 10 years.

"There is still a great deal we don't understand about the epidemic and, for some time to come, the models will be in need of constant revision and updating when new data become available to improve the predictive accuracy," said Professor Rob Dorrington, convener of the Assa Aids committee responsible for building the model.

"There has recently been much debate about the extent of the epidemic and the society hopes the release of this model might help provide a clearer understanding of the dimensions of the epidemic.

"However, perhaps one of the greatest benefits of such mathematical modelling is to enable us to assess the impact of the epidemic under different scenarios," he said.

The model was drawn up using, among other information, data from the national survey of public ante-natal clinics, as well as the latest mortality data.

The model can be found on - Sapa