AIDS Report Paints Bleak Picture of South Africa

ROME, OCT. 22, 2001 ( A devastating report on the impact of AIDS in South Africa was published this week despite efforts by the government to suppress and discredit it.

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The report, produced by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, says that 40% of all deaths in the 15-49 age group are now AIDS-related.

It predicts that, if unchecked, the total number of AIDS related deaths in South Africa will rise to 5 million to 7 million by 2010. The country has about 43 million people now.

By the end of this decade, the authors argue, average life expectancy will drop from 54 to 41, and about 780,000 people will be dying each year from AIDS, the highest number of any country.

The authors of the report, which has been the subject of rigorous review, include researchers from the University of Cape Town and the London School of Tropical Hygiene.

The authors argue it represents the most comprehensive investigation to date of the effects of AIDS in South Africa, and its findings have been widely accepted by a range of organizations, including labor unions, churches and even some ANC politicians.

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