This paper describes an approach to incorporating the impact of HIV/AIDS and the effects of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes into a cohort component projection model of the South African population. The modelled HIV-positive population is divided into clinical and treatment stages, and it is demonstrated that the age profile and morbidity profile of the HIV-positive population is changing significantly over time. HIV/AIDS is projected to have a substantial demographic impact in South Africa. Prevention programmes – social marketing, voluntary counselling and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and improved treatment for sexually transmitted diseases – are unlikely to reduce AIDS mortality significantly in the short term. However, more immediate reductions in mortality can be achieved when antiretroviral treatment is introduced.