The dismal decline in life expectancy is due not only to deaths of adults–most of them young or in early middle age–but also to child deaths. HIV is contributing substantially to rising child mortality rates in many areas of sub-Saharan Africa, reversing years of hard-won gains in child survival.
By 2005-2010, for example, 61 of every 1000 infants born in South Africa are expected to die before the age of one year. In the absence of AIDS, infant mortality would have been as low as 38 per 1000. With AIDS in the picture, the infant mortality rate in Namibia is projected to be 72 per 1000; without the epidemic the country could have expected a far lower rate of 45 per 1000.