Several organisations have produced HIV/AIDS statistics since the outbreak of the epidemic in the 1980s. Until recently, population based estimates were not available and hitherto, HIV prevalence for the general population were often extrapolated from the HIV prevalence of women attending public antenatal clinics. However, such extrapolations have been questioned. Additionally, several organisations have produced estimates of the impact of HIV/AIDS on infant mortality rates and life expectancy at birth but these estimates often utilised model life tables that were developed prior to the advent of HIV/AIDS epidemic.
This study critically examined such estimates with particular reference to South Africa. The study concluded that the life expectancy at birth estimated for South Africa by several organisations and researchers in the early 2000s to mid-2000s were too low. Consequently, among others, this would have had implications for the Human Development Index for South Africa during those periods. A similar situation may have been the case in other Southern African countries.
Author: Udjo E. O. 2008.