South Africa Could Have Prevented 365000 AIDS Deaths

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The South African government could have prevented about 365,000 AIDS-related deaths earlier this decade by providing antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people and by implementing a mother-to-child HIV prevention program, according to a study to be published in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, the New York Times reports (Dugger, New York Times, 11/26).

For the study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health compared the HIV/AIDS policies of the South African government from 1999 through 2008 with those of neighboring Botswana and Namibia. According to AFP/, Botswana and Namibia began providing HIV treatment to people in need before South Africa (AFP/, 11/26).


The researchers quantified the "human cost" of South Africa's "inaction" on HIV/AIDS by comparing the number of people who began receiving antiretrovirals between 2000 and 2005 with the estimated number of people who would have received drugs if a "workable" program had been implemented, according to the Times.

The study found that 23% of South Africans in need of HIV treatment were receiving it as of 2005 but that half of those in need could have been reached. Botswana was providing antiretrovirals to 85% of people in need by 2005, while Namibia was providing treatment to 71%, the study noted.

The study concluded that as a result of a lack of treatment, 330,000 South African adults and 35,000 infants died prematurely of AIDS-related causes, resulting in the loss of a combined 3.8 million life years (New York Times, 11/26).

Reprinted with permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Share this content.

If you liked this article and think it may help your friends, consider sharing or tweeting it to your followers.