Deaths given this diagnosis are all due to HIV infection that has progressed to AIDS.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, was first identified in 1981 in Los Angeles in the United States. In 2002 nearly 80% of the 2.6 million deaths from AIDS occured in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease, usually untreated, caused more than 6000 deaths every day and accounted for almost one in five of all deaths and half of the deaths of adults aged 15 to 59 years. Globally in males AIDS is second only to Illnesses of the newborn U049 Map 408, in causing lost years of healthy life, and in females it is third, after Illnesses of the newborn U049 Map 408, and Pneumonia U039 Map 404. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which slowly destroys the body's defences against diseases (the immune system). When this has happened you have AIDS and certain infections and certain cancers can easily develop and easily be fatal.
AIDS is spread sexually, in semen and other genital secretions, and the person's blood is also infectious. People are infectious any time after the initial infection with HIV, long before AIDS occurs, which takes on average 10 years.
In 2002 HIV/AIDS caused 4.0% of deaths in children under 15 years, 14.1% of deaths in adults aged 15 to 59 years (table 5) and 9.6% of all deaths in very poor territories with low life expectancy (table 4c).
Global Burden of Disease estimated in 2002 AIDS to cause 5.8% of all Male, 5.7% of all Female and 9.2% of all Very poor territory burden of disease (Disability Adjusted Lost Years, table 7).
HIV/AIDS caused 5.1% of all deaths worldwide in 2002 or 469 deaths per million people. This does not include deaths due to tuberculosis in people who have HIV/AIDS.