Blog: Dispelling Misconceptions

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Recently, a web page of National Public Radio stated “AIDS is the primary killer of African-Americans ages 19 to 44 years of age.”   This misconception is evidently a common one. For example, Peter Piot, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, had broadcast the same belief previously, i.e., “AIDS remains the leading cause of death in African-American women in the USA.” [1]  Neither statement is accurate.

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Is the use of estimates in measuring HIV/AIDS leading to other diseases being wrongly classified?

Few people realise that the familiar HIV/AIDS global statistics that one sees, hears, and reads in the media are actually just estimates.  The numbers you hear are not actual counts of HIV/AIDS cases nor actual counts HIV/AIDS deaths.  Only estimates generated by computers. 

For example, UNAIDS estimated that South Africa had 140,000 HIV/AIDS deaths in 1997. However, after tabulating all death certificates for 1997, South Africa attributed only 6,635 deaths to HIV/AIDS.

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