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HIV/AIDS May Be Third Leading Cause of Death in 2030

Top causes of illness will be HIV/AIDS, depression, heart disease, road-traffic accidents

FRIDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Updated projections of global mortality and disease burden suggest that HIV/AIDS, depression, heart disease and road-traffic accidents will be the main causes of illness in 2030, according to study results published online Nov. 27 in PLoS Medicine. What's more, the baseline projections suggest HIV/AIDS will be the third-leading cause of death, after ischemia heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.

Colin D. Mathers, Ph.D., and Dejan Loncar of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, used data from their organization on worldwide mortality and disease burden for 2002 to project these values to 2030. These projections are an update of previous projections based on data from 1990. Three models were used based on baseline, optimistic and pessimistic scenarios.

The researchers found that all three scenarios predicted a global increase in life expectancy, fewer deaths of children under age 5 and a higher percentage of deaths from non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Although deaths from infectious diseases will fall, there will be more deaths from HIV/AIDS, although these will be surpassed by deaths from tobacco-related diseases.

The baseline and pessimistic scenarios predict that HIV/AIDS, depression and ischemic heart disease will be the primary causes of illness by 2030, while the optimistic scenario predicts that road-traffic accidents rather than heart disease will be the third-leading cause of illness.

In an accompanying editorial, the PLoS Medicine editors suggest that "identifying the problems is a good place to start, but it must now lead on to the development of constructive policies and to collaborative action."

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