South Africa’s effort on HIV/AIDS bearing fruit

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THE death rate among employees of companies that bought risk cover from ” fell almost 20% between 2008 and 2011 — a decline that came as the government’s drive to get more HIV patients on treatment gathered pace.

Research by the financial services company, released on Wednesday, is consistent with the findings of a study published last year by the Medical Research Council which found life expectancy to have risen to 60 years in 2011, up from 56.5 years in 2009 as fewer people died of AIDS.

Old Mutual’s findings also tally with the latest “, which estimated that sub-Saharan Africa had seen a 25% reduction in new HIV infections between 2001 and 2011. UNAIDS is the joint United Nations Agency on HIV/AIDS.

Old Mutual’s research not only underscores the effect of the government’s AIDS treatment programme, but also highlights a direct benefit for companies, since better risk profiles mean lower insurance premiums.

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