The AIDS epidemic in South Africa is entering the "death" phase as mortality outstrips new infections, say scientists.
"South Africa is experiencing a devastating epidemic -- the world's worst -- and this is just the beginning,'' said researchers .
South African President Thabo Mbeki's government has been criticized for its lackluster approach to tackling the disease, which has already infected about 5 million South Africans.
Activists have also called on the government to continue to use an AIDS drug called nevirapine to prevent newborn children from contracting the HIV infection from their mothers.
As the incidence of HIVAIDS starts to plateau at about 33 percent, sickness and deaths are on the increase.
Activists say AIDS kills about 600 South Africans each day -- a number that seems sure to grow as more people enter late stages of the disease without drug treatment.
Reports have shown, that in one major South African hospital, King Edward in Durban, an estimated 90 percent of hospital patients were HIV positive.