Report says South Africa has far fewer HIV cases
July 30 2004 11:00 PM ET
A report by South Africa's governmental statistics agency, Stats SA, suggests that the nation has about 1.5 million fewer HIV-positive people than estimated by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. According to Stats SA, there are about 3.8 million HIV-positive people in the country, down from the 5.3 million UNAIDS estimates. The new report mirrors similar estimates by other groups, including the Actuarial Society of South Africa. Stats SA says its lower estimate is based on differences in assumptions about HIV's spread as well as official data from census statistics and death certificates. The group estimates 1.5 million South Africans have died of complications from AIDS; the U.S. Census Bureau says that number is closer to 3 million. UNAIDS had no comment on the Stats SA report. If the new estimates are accurate, India would replace South Africa as home to world's largest number of HIV-positive people, with about 5 million residents infected with the virus.