The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of Human Immunodefi ciency Virus (HIV) amongst
decedents admitted to the Pretoria Medico-Legal Laboratory (MLL). The study was designed as a cross sectional
study. It is not standard procedure for the pathologist to do a HIV test at autopsy. Post mortem (PM) blood
samples were obtained from all bodies admitted to the Pretoria MLL during one month in 2009. Analysis of the
blood samples was performed using standardised laboratory procedures. Two hundred and thirty-eight PM
blood samples were collected. In 43 cases (17%), the test results were invalid. Of the 195 valid test samples,
51 (26.2%) were HIV-positive. The prevalence of HIV in this study was 15% higher than that reported in a similar
study done 10 years previously.