To quantify socio-economic differences in the risk of HIV/AIDS mortality in South Africa for different measures of socio-economic status.
Systematic literature search in Web of Knowledge and PubMed. Measures of relative risk (RR) were pooled separately for education, income, assets score and employment status as measures of socio-economic status, using inverse-variance weighted DerSimonian-Laird random effects meta-analyses.
Ten studies were eligible for inclusion comprising over 175 000 participants and 6700 deaths. For income (RR 1.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15-2.09), assets score (RR 1.63, 95% CI 1.12-2.36) and employment status (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.21-1.92), persons of low socio-economic status had an over 50% higher risk of dying from HIV/AIDS. The RR of 1.10 for education was not significant (95% CI 0.74-1.65).
Future research should identify effective strategies to reduce HIV/AIDS mortality and alleviate the consequences of HIV/AIDS deaths, particularly for poorer households.