High AIDS-related mortality among young women in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
Fröhlich, Janet Ann.
Abdool Karim, Quarraisha.
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Objective. To establish mortality rates and cause of death in a rural community in KwaZulu-Natal. This study was conducted as part of a demographic and health survey to assess the impact of HIV infection in this community. Methods. A cross-sectional survey was conducted between February and July 2004. The survey made use of structured questionnaires and verbal autopsies, which yielded detailed information at household level, including the demographic profile of residents, mortality rates and cause of mortality between February 2003 and February 2004. Results. The overall mortality rate in this community was 2.9 deaths per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.5 - 3.3 per 100 person-years). The highest mortality rate among women occurred in the 30 - 34-year age group, while among men it occurred in the 35 - 39 and > 60-year age groups. Of the 185 verbal autopsies reported, 77 deaths (42%) were attributable to AIDS. The survey revealed that women aged 20 - 24 and men aged 35 - 39 years were bearing a disproportionately large burden of AIDS-related mortality in this community. Conclusion. AIDS-related mortality was found to be disproportionately high in young women in this small rural community, and the majority of deaths resulted from pulmonary tuberculosis. The need to strengthen prevention and treatment efforts in this and similar settings is highlighted.
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