Original articles

HIV/AIDS mortality trends pre and post ART for 1997 - 2012 in South Africa – have we turned the tide?

V Pillay-van Wyk, W Msemburi, R E Dorrington, R Laubscher, Pamela Groenewald, Debbie Bradshaw

Abstract


Background. South Africa (SA) has one of the largest HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world and the most extensive antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme globally, which was rolled out from 2004. This paper reports the trends in HIV/AIDS mortality pre and post ART rollout in SA. 

Methods. Vital registration cause-of-death data from Statistics South Africa were adjusted for under-reporting of deaths using demographic methods. Misattributed HIV/AIDS deaths were identified by regressing excess mortality on a lagged indicator HIV antenatal clinic prevalence for causes found to be associated with HIV/AIDS. Background trends in the source-cause mortality rates were estimated from the trend in cause-specific mortality experienced among 75 - 84-year-olds. Mortality rates were calculated using mid-year population estimates and the World Health Organization world standard age-weights. 

Results. We estimated over 3 189 000 HIV/AIDS deaths for 1997 - 2012. In 1997, 60 336 (14.5%) of deaths were attributed to HIV/AIDS; this number peaked in 2006 at 283 564 (41.9%) and decreased to 153 661 (29.1%) by 2012; female mortality rates peaked in 2005 and those of males in 2006. Men aged 35 years and older had higher mortality rates than did women. While the rates at ages below 65 years in 2012 were lower than those in 2006, rates of those age 65 years and older remained unchanged. 

Conclusion. The number of HIV/AIDS deaths has almost halved since the ART rollout. Of concern is the high mortality in men 45 years and older and the high mortality of men compared with women in the older ages by 2012; this gap has increased with age. Treatment and prevention programmes should strategise how to target men.


Authors' affiliations

V Pillay-van Wyk, Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

W Msemburi, Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

R E Dorrington, Centre for Actuarial Research, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, South Africa

R Laubscher, Biostatistics Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

Pamela Groenewald, Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

Debbie Bradshaw, Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa;School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2019;109(11b):41-44. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2019.v109i11b.14283

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-12-05
Date published: 2019-12-05

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