PURPOSE : To determine the prevalence of HIV in the sudden, unexplained and unexpected
(SUU) death population admitted to the Pretoria Medico-Legal Laboratory.
METHODS : This study was conducted at the Pretoria Medico-Legal Laboratory. Blood
samples were obtained from decedents who died suddenly and/or unexpectedly, during
autopsy, by a forensic pathologist. Sample collection continued until 100 valid samples
were analysed for HIV antibodies. The data collected included demographic details and
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION : SUU deaths accounted for 14% of all cases admitted to the Pretoria
Medico-Legal Laboratory. The HIV prevalence in the SUU deaths was 43%, which is 17%
higher than the general mortuary population in Pretoria ( p = 0.0045). The majority of these
deaths were due to respiratory disease processes, with 12 cases having HIV/TB co-infection.