Global Mortality Predictions: AIDS No.3 & Traffic Fatalities No.4 Leading Causes of Death by 2030

Within the next 25 years, AIDS is set to join heart disease and stroke as the top three causes of death worldwide, according to a new report in the Public Library of Science's Medicine journal. AIDS is currently ranked fourth behind heart disease, stroke, and respiratory infections. 

AIDS accounts for about 2.8 million deaths in 2006. But the researchers estimate a total of nearly 117 million people could die in the next 25 years.

The researchers, Dr. Colin Mathers and Dejan Loncar of the World Health Organization, predict the causes of global mortality in next three decades. Most people will be dying at older ages of noninfectious diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.

  • Life expectancy is expected to increase worldwide, with the highest projected life expectancy in 2030 to be in Japanese women, at 88.5 years.
  • Cancer deaths will jump from 7.1 million in 2002 to 11.5 million in 2030. 
  • The number of deaths from cardiovascular disease is expected to rise from 16.7 million in 2002 to 23.3 million in 2030. 
  • Based on rates of increasing car ownership, the World Bank estimates that traffic fatalities will increase globally by 66% by 2020. 
  • The risk of death for children younger than 5 y is projected to fall by nearly 50% in the baseline scenario between 2002 and 2030. 
  • The proportion of deaths due to non-communicable disease is projected to rise from 59% in 2002 to 69% in 2030. 
  • Global HIV/AIDS deaths are projected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002 to 6.5 million in 2030 under the baseline scenario, which assumes coverage with antiretroviral drugs reaches 80% by 2012. 
  • Under the optimistic scenario, which also assumes increased prevention activity, HIV/AIDS deaths are projected to drop to 3.7 million in 2030.
  • Total tobacco-attributable deaths are projected to rise from 5.4 million in 2005 to 6.4 million in 2015 and 8.3 million in 2030 under our baseline scenario. 
  • Tobacco is projected to kill 50% more people in 2015 than HIV/AIDS, and to be responsible for 10% of all deaths globally. 

Road traffic accidents are the fourth leading cause in the baseline scenario. Under the baseline scenario, HIV/AIDS becomes the leading cause of burden of disease in middle- and low-income countries by 2015.

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