Midyear population stats: Deaths caused by HIV/AIDS have decreased

While the prevalence rate may be of concern, people living with HIV/AIDS still have a second chance at a long and healthy life.



Statistics South Africa has released its midyear population figures and for the first time since the pandemic broke out, 2019 (so far) has recorded the lowest number of deaths related to HIV/AIDS.

Midyear population figures: Key statistics about our population

According to the data released by Stats SA, these are the key readings on our population data:

  • South Africa’s population, so far, stands at 58.78-million;
  • females make up the majority of our population (51.2%);
  • Gauteng holds South Africa’s majority population (15.2-million inhabitants);
  • more than a quarter of our population is made up of people aged 15 years old and younger
  • life expectancy is estimated at 61.5 years for males, 67.7 years for females; and
  • for adults aged 15–49 years, an estimated 19,07% of the population is HIV positive

Are we winning the fight against HIV/AIDS?

According to Stats SA’s midyear figures, the HIV prevalence rate currently sits at 13.5% among the South African population. This means that placed next to data sourced from the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), South Africa has the second-highest prevalence rate in Africa.

In its recently-published journal titled, Nature, the IHME listed 46 countries with reasonably high prevalence rates. Namibia came out on top as the country with the most widespread cases of people living with HIV, totalling a prevalence rate of 13.8%.

South Africa is tied in second-place with Zimbabwe (13.5%), and Kenya (5.6%) ranks third, while Nigeria’s prevalence rate is the lowest of the five countries, at 3%.

Key takeouts from Stats SA’s HIV/AIDS statistics

The data recorded in the midyear population figures indicate that while the total number of people living with HIV has increased in the last ten years, deaths related to HIV/AIDS have notably decreased.

HIV interventions in children aged below five have assisted in the increase we are seeing in life expectancy.

Moreover, it is clear that HIV treatment is generally effective since the crude death rate has shot down from 12.5 deaths per 1 000 people 17 years ago, to 9.2 deaths per 1 000 people in 2019.

This suggests that as more and more people contract the virus, medical interventions such as antiretroviral treatment is playing a major role in extending the number of years in their lives.