Deaths of young adults have increased by 213 percent since 1997 and this can be attributed to the HIV/Aids pandemic, the SA Institute of Race Relations said.
The number of people who died in the age-group 30-34 in 1997 was
18 983, but by 2005, this number had risen to a staggering 59 360, the latest edition of the institute's annual survey said.
"The huge upswing in deaths of young adults can only be attributed to the progressing HIV/Aids pandemic in SA," said Marco MacFarlane, head of research at the institute.
"Unfortunately that is not the worst of it, as the latest estimates show that HIV/Aids will soon account for more deaths per year than every other cause of death combined," he added.
HIV/Aids not just a health issue
MacFarlane said while the latest figures do show a decrease in infection rates, it was too early to start celebrating.
"We saw a decrease in 1999 and there were comments back then that the epidemic had stabilised, but the following year the statistics showed a large increase again and they have increased every year again until 2006," he said.
HIV/Aids was not only a healthcare issue; it was an economic issue, an infrastructure issue and a social and community issue, added MacFarlane.
"This disease needs to be fought on every front with equal vigour, by both the private and the public sectors, and by individuals themselves."
The survey also showed that, on the latest estimates, more than 18 percent of the total workforce was infected with HIV. –(Sapa)
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