Country's young ravaged by AIDS - MRC

As a result of HIV/AIDS, childhood mortality in South Africa is at unacceptably high levels, the country's Medical Research Council (MRC) has said.

In a recent statement, head of the MRC's Burden of Disease research unit Debbie Bradshaw said HIV/AIDS had accounted for 40 percent of deaths among young children in 2000.

Bradshaw said: "Although the percentage of deaths is higher in the 1 to 4 year age group, the largest number of deaths occurs in the under-one age group."

The MRC noted that without interventions to extend the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, the country's total premature mortality burden could be expected to double by 2010.