Demographic impact of HIV/AIDS on the young and elderly populations in South Africa
Journal of Intergenerational Relationships
Demography Unit in the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, Health Program, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa
Concomitant to demographic transition from high to low fertility and mortality is the structural change from a youthful to an ageing population. The change raises, among others, intergenerational demographic, economic and social issues, some of which have been perceived as problems. The HIV/AIDS epidemic poses additional challenges to policy makers in the provision of personal care and financial support as it may alter intergenerational relationships in the demand for services in transitional populations. The first HIV/AIDS case in South Africa was reported in 1981. Since then, HIV sero-prevalence as measured by women attending antenatal clinics has steadily increased in the country, and currently South Africa is one of the highest HIV prevalent countries in the world and in the African continent with sero-prevalence of 29.5% among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in 2004. In 2002, the Nelson Mandela Funds in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council carried out a national HIV prevalence, behavioural risks and mass media household survey. Only a few countries in the world have carried out such a national HIV prevalence survey. As an insight into the magnitude of some of the intergenerational relationships regarding HIV/AIDS, this study attempts to examine the demographic impact of HIV/AIDS on the young and elderly populations in South Africa's four main population groups (Africans, Coloureds, Indians and Whites). The study utilizes various national survey/census data, administrative records and HIV sero-prevalence data. The analysis is based on the cohort component method. The results show that demographic transition in South Africa has resulted in changes in the growth and structural characteristics of the population. Some of the results indicate that some of the changes are in opposite directions among the young and the elderly. AIDS compounds some of the trends. The changes have policy implications for intergenerational demands for services and relationships. © 2006 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.